11 Aug Random acts of kindness
By Sabine McKenzie
TDHS Community Engagement Officer
Being kind to yourself and others is now more important than ever as we go through the second wave of the Coronavirus. We are all in this together and random acts of kindness will not only improve the lives of others, but, as different research shows, they are actually fantastic for your own health and can even increase your lifespan as some facts provided by Dartmouth University show!
KINDNESS DECREASES BLOOD PRESSURE
Committing acts of kindness lowers blood pressure. According to Dr. David R. Hamilton, acts of kindness create emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and, therefore, oxytocin is known as a “cardioprotective” hormone. It protects the heart by lowering blood pressure.
KINDNESS INCREASES LIFESPAN
“People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organisations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.” Christine Carter, Author, “Raising Happiness; In Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents”
KINDNESS INCREASES SEROTONIN
Like most medical antidepressants, kindness stimulates the production of serotonin. This feel-good chemical heals your wounds, calms you down, and makes you happy!
KINDNESS DECREASES DEPRESSION
Stephen Post of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that when we give of ourselves, everything from life satisfaction to self-realisation and physical health is significantly improved. Mortality is delayed, depression is reduced and well-being and good fortune are increased.
And above all: Kindness is contagious. The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnessed the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to “pay it forward.” This means one good deed in a crowded area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people!
Our community has shown time and time again how much we care about others, but as we go through these challenging times, it is more important than ever to make sure we look after each other and make sure we are all ok. So give someone a compliment, let them go ahead in the supermarket queue, put a handmade card saying “Thinking of you” in a neighbour’s mailbox or take out their bin. You can even play Kindness Bingo with your family to get everybody involved and to introduce children at an early age to community work so they can adopt the spirit of giving back.