How Random Acts of Kindness Can Boost Your Health
If you think back to the last time you had that “feel good” feeling inside, do you remember what it was from? Oftentimes, you can achieve that through simple acts of kindness.
These simple acts of kindness do not have to be monumental and you probably do them in some form or another reasonably often:
- Waiting a few extra seconds to hold open the door for someone that has their hands full
- Grabbing an extra coffee for the coworker that is having a tough time right now
- Giving a compliment to a friend, coworker, or even to your boss
- Leaving a note with a simple “Thank you” for the mailman or delivery person
- Overtip the delivery person or the waiter/waitress
- Helping the elderly grab their groceries so they don’t have to venture out into the hot humid temperatures
- Inviting a friend over and surprising them with dinner since they are going through some hardships without trying to fix their problems but rather lending an ear and listening
Why does it matter to your overall health to perform random acts of kindness?
Simple acts of kindness have the ability to boost feelings of confidence, happiness, and optimism. A great aspect of acts of kindness is the domino effect they can have. It can encourage others to repeat these acts of kindness that they have personally experienced as well! Overall it can have a positive effect on a greater community.
One simple act of kindness that is memorable is a particular Starbucks back on the East Coast during the Christmas/winter season. The drive-thru had a pay-it-forward chain going for close to 1500 customers that went on for a few days. These simple generous unexpected acts of kindness can brighten your entire day and this was visible as one guest heard that someone already paid for their drink, they were ready to pay it for someone else as well. It’s important to realize that these simple acts of kindness come in all shapes and forms. Whether it’s for someone that you may know or a complete stranger, it is about looking out for other people and showing a sense of caring.
When you do perform an act of kindness, and put the well-being of others before yourself without expecting anything in return gives you the same feeling of a “helper’s high”. During this time, our system is filled with feel-good chemicals and is able to help improve depression and minimize stress. Furthermore, these acts of kindness contribute to our sense of community and belonging which ties into a healthier and longer life as well.
Kindness can be undervalued but it has a significant value as it can increase a person’s sense of happiness. As kindness can promote gratitude as well, when you are kind to others in need, it allows you to reflect on your own good fortune.
Why practice random acts of kindness?
- Kindness reduces stress
- Boosts both physical and mental health as some physical complaints are either brought about or further aggravated by stress
- Allows the individual to have a “helper’s high”
- Acts of kindness release a chain of positivity: we feel better and the recipients feel better receiving the act of kindness which can turn into a domino effect
- Helps bring together a sense of belonging and community
The key takeaway is that a simple act of kindness can go a long way!