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Why being kind is good for your health

Why being kind is good for your health

Posted on October 12th, 2021

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.

 

#BeKind

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.

  1. It starts with hello: Whether it’s a simple ‘good morning’ to someone you pass on the way to work, introducing yourself to your neighbours and asking if they need anything, or sending a handwritten card to a friend just to brighten their day – it can all make a difference to the way others feel.
  2. Give someone a compliment: Even something as simple as saying how much you like someone’s shoes can instantly lift their mood.
  3. Pay-it-forward: Next time you buy a coffee, why not offer to buy one for the next person on the queue. They may be inspired by your act to do something generous for someone else, setting off a whole chain of kindness that has a greater impact than you might imagine.
  4. Do something unexpected: Generosity doesn’t have to cost money. It could be something as simple as doing a chore you know your spouse hates!
  5. Give to those in need: Buy a hot drink and a bite to eat for a homeless person, donate items to a charity shop, or donate your time by volunteering – it all helps.
  6. Give blood: It’s not just your money or time that you could donate. Becoming a regular blood donor could save countless lives.
  7. Write a review: Post a positive review online for a business you love or share their social media posts to help them grow.
  8. Brighten up your community: Organise a litter pick or get stuck into some ‘guerrilla gardening’ to spruce up your local area.
  9. Be kind to the earth: Plant a tree, make a bug hotel, feed the birds, or grow bee and butterfly friendly wildflowers to give nature a helping hand.
  10. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself: Practice a little self-care and do something you enjoy, or recite some positive affirmations to yourself to give yourself a daily boost.

When Lyn booked me with Dr McFarlane and said ‘what he doesn’t know about sexual health isn’t worth knowing’ she was right. Thorough assessment, quick test and immediate treatment all in a relaxed, professional manner – Excellent!

Stu – W Lothian – Robert

YourGP is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the regulator for independent healthcare services across Scotland. Healthcare Improvement Scotland accepts complaints at any time. Contact them at:

Independent Healthcare Team
Gyle Square | 1 South Gyle Crescent | Edinburgh | EH12 9EB
0131 623 4342 | hcis.clinicregulation@nhs.net