Yesterday (February 17th) was Random Acts of Kindness Day, but the group behind it wants us to consider being kind every single day. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation encourages everyone to become a “RAKtivist” or Random Acts of Kindness activist. And here’s why: Research shows spreading kindness doesn’t just help others feel good, it can boost the do-gooder’s health and happiness, too.
So it’s really a win-win for everyone and these are some of the health benefits that come from doing random acts of kindness:
- A “helper’s high” - Studies show that being altruistic - or putting the well-being of others before our own without expecting anything in return - triggers the reward centers of the brain. The feel-good chemicals we’re flooded with as a result give us a kind of “helper’s high.”
- It may help you live longer - Kindness adds to our sense of community and belonging, which studies have found is an important contributor to a healthy, longer life.
- Lowers blood pressure - A six week study finds that donating to others can reduce blood pressure and improve heart health as much as healthy diet and exercise.
- Reduces pain - Giving may ease our pain, according to a recent study that finds the parts of the brain that react to painful stimulation seem to be instantly deactivated by the act of giving.
- Happiness - Research from the U.K. finds being kind could boost happiness in as little as three days. And if you vary the acts of kindness, you may get a bigger boost of joy. Happiness researchers found folks who do a variety of good deeds throughout the week showed bigger increases in happiness than those who did the same acts repeatedly.