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Humans are fundamentally social beings, so it is not surprising that we benefit when we come together, connect, and help others. But you may be surprised to hear just how much we all benefit from doing so. Did you know, for example, that even simple acts of kindness can help to boost your wellbeing and longevity?
What better day to discuss this topic in more detail than 13th November – World Kindness Day. Here, the healthcare experts at YourGP reveal the positive impact showing kindness to others can have on your health, and list 10 easy ways you can incorporate a little kindness into your everyday life.
We don’t always know what battles some people are fighting – it is not always obvious to others when a person is having to deal with something stressful, upsetting, or traumatic. This is the ethos behind the #BeKind movement – to consider the impact of our words and actions and make a conscious choice to be kind to everyone, whenever we can. Whether they’re a relative, friend, colleague, neighbour, or complete stranger – everyone deserves to be shown a little kindness.
The health benefits of being kind
Showing kindness to others helps us to form more positive and more rewarding relationships, which in turn makes us happier. And the happiness doesn’t stop there. Being kind boosts our serotonin – the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of satisfaction and well-being – and it also causes our body to release endorphins.
It can also have a significantly positive impact on our health. It can reduce stress by helping us focus on things outside our own life. And a study on happiness from the University of British Columbia showed those who engaged in kind acts experienced lower levels of anxiety.
It can also lead to the release of oxytocin which helps to lower our blood pressure and reduce inflammation. In fact, a study conducted in 2013 showed volunteering correlated with a 24% lower risk of early death.
Show a little more kindness everyday
As Aesop once said; ‘No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted’, so try to show a little kindness every day.
I needed a quick appointment as I was leaving for America. The doctor listened and allayed any concerns. It was a pleasure to talk to a doctor who wasn’t watching the clock and not paying attention to me. I left confident that if a problem arose I would be able to deal with it until I arrived home. The experience left me feeling confident and positive.