Kindness Really Is Good For The Heart
By: Alex Pinchot, ND
When People think of acts of kindness they usually think of the benefits for the recipients. Weather it is paying the bridge toll for the car behind you, giving a dollar to someone in need, or giving a compliment to a stranger, we see this as a service to the receiver for this kindness. In this post we are going to flip this notion on its head. There is now research to back up the multitude of health benefit for the person giving. So get out there and give your way to better health.
Much of our effort in medicine is focused on helping patients with fatigue, pain, stress, high blood pressure, anxiety and depression. We now know there is a treatment that is helpful for all of these. The act of doing Random Acts of Kindness is this miracle treatment.
What can being kind do for your health? For a more complete list go to: https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-science-of-kindness
Energy: After helping other some people feel more energy, more confident, and less shy. Some of this benefit comes from an increase in oxytocin and increased activity in areas of the brain associated with reward and pleasure. This is summed up as the “helper's high”.
Pain: Our bodies have multiple signaling pathways to our sensation of pain. Engaging in acts of kindness not only increase oxytocin, which decreases our sensitivity to pain but it also increases endorphin production. Endorphins are our bodies internal pain relievers.
Stress: People who regularly commit Random acts of kindness have lower cortisol levels making them less reactive to stress. Cortisol is our main stress hormone and it is very helpful when you need to run from a bear, but not as a daily driver. Cortisol ensures our muscles are well fed to help us escape, it speeds up our heart for getting more nutrients where they are needed and ultimately helps you survive. On the other hand, cortisol also has many negative long-term effects, it leads to decreased memory, muscle breakdown, decreased healing and bone formation, all of which are overkill for the majority of stressful event we encounter in our modern life.
Blood Pressure: You likely never guessed that kindness really is good for the heart. When we give random acts of kindness, the hormone oxytocin (aka The Love Hormone) is released. One of the many effects of oxytocin is to lower blood pressure by signaling blood vessels to dilate.
Knowing these benefits, it’s time to be selfish and go Commit Random Acts of Kindness!