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Top 4 Reasons Why Being Kind is the Key to a Longer, Happier Life

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World Kindness Day blue banner with a hand holding up a heart-shaped world

November 13 is World Kindness Day.

Kindness Day aims to promote good deeds and remind us of kindness’s benefits.

This day also allows us to ponder one of humanity’s most enduring principles – kindness.

Kindness is more than just a nice feeling after doing something generous or considerate. Kindness is a deliberate action from a generous spirit and compassionate heart. When we act with kindness, we choose to see the good in people and put their needs before our own.

Kindness can be difficult in today’s world, where it seems like the news is full of negativity and division. But by choosing to be kind, we can make a difference in our lives and those around us.

The Benefits of Being Kind

Hand holding a red heart cushion

Have you ever had a coworker pay for your lunch or had a stranger let you go ahead of them at the grocery store check-out? Receiving an act of kindness can lift your mood and bring a smile to your face. Clearly, kindness benefits the receiver, but what of the giver?

You might be surprised to learn that acting kindly benefits your health in many ways.

A 2013 study found that acts of kindness produce an “endogenous opiate,” a fancy way of saying it releases feel-good chemicals in our brains. In other words, being kind makes you happy. (1)

But it doesn’t stop there. The act of being kind also has some pretty amazing health benefits, both mental and physical.

1. Reduces Stress

Older man with sunglasses meditating on wooden porch

We all know that stress can take a toll on our mental and physical health. But did you know that being kind can help reduce your stress? One study found that participants who performed acts of kindness had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. So next time you’re stressed, try doing something nice for someone else—it might also help you feel better. (2)

2. Boosts Immunity

Fist with blue boxing glove punching a 3D rendition of a virus

Another health benefit of being kind is that it can help boost your immunity. One study found that students who did volunteer work had fewer sick days than those who didn’t. So next time you’re feeling under the weather, try reaching out to others instead of reaching for the chicken soup—your health may thank you for it later. (3)

3. Improves Heart Health

Doctor holding up a red heart with vital sign imprinted on it

Not only is kindness good for your mental health, but it’s also good for your physical health—specifically your heart health. One study found that people who performed acts of kindness had lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease. So if you want to improve your heart health, commit kind acts for someone else. It’s a win-win! (4)

4. Live Longer

The back of a woman meditating on top of a hill with clouds/fog surrounding it

Kindness can help us live longer by reducing stress and inflammation in the body. This is because when we are kind to others, it releases oxytocin, which is sometimes called the “cuddle hormone” because it helps us feel warm and happy. Oxytocin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, which can help keep our bodies healthy. (5)

The next time you’re feeling down or stressed, try doing something kind for someone else—you might find it does wonders for your mental and physical health, too. From reducing stress to boosting immunity to improving heart health, there are plenty of reasons to add more kindness to your life. So go ahead and spread the love—your body will thank you for it later!

Be Kind to Your Brain

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2. Kindness as a Stress Reduction–Health Promotion Intervention: A Review …

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