The feel-good benefits of “random acts of kindness” or “paying it forward” (repaying a kind deed done to you to someone else) are not arguable. However, doubts may arise, if it’s suggested that the warm and fuzzy feelings generated from giving or receiving kindness actually provide “health” benefits. A little research on the subject suggested the following benefits from being kind:
Increases oxytocin levels in the brain and body, dilating blood vessels and improving cardiovascular function
Slows aging by reducing levels of free radicals and inflammation
Strengthens the immune system
Creates positive connections and improves relationships
Reduces feelings of hostility, isolation and depression
Enhances joyfulness and emotional resilience
Decreases the awareness and intensity of physical pain
Enhances a sense of self-worth and optimism
Increases job satisfaction while promoting workplace morale and teamwork
Creates a “domino effect” that impacts others in the same way
The “domino effect”? Yes, kindness benefits extend to the giver, the receiver, and even observers! Dr. Larry Dossey, author of “Meaning and Medicine” (Bantam Books, 1991), explained it this way:
“Altruism behaves like a miracle drug, and a strange one at that. It has beneficial effects on the person doing the helping - the helper’s high; it benefits the person to whom the help is directed; and it can stimulate healthy responses in persons at a distance who may view it only obliquely.”
Acts of kindness create a ripple effect that can have a far-reaching positive impact on individuals, organizations and the greater community. As kindness increases, health and wellbeing improves, organizations function better and we create a more civil society.
M. J. White is the creator of “LEAN Wellness”, which transforms work environments with a radically different bottom-up approach that inspires continuous improvement in health and wellbeing. To learn more, visit the website at: www.wellstreet.us or email M. J. directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org.