When we consider things that might improve our health, kindness is generally not the first thing that comes to mind.
But recent studies have shown that practicing more kindness in your day to day life may actually have a positive effect on happiness levels and longevity.
It's now believed that kindness may have the potential to strengthen our immune system, promote healthy aging, boost confidence and self esteem, and even promote heart health.
And even better, kindness is contagious!
When you’re kind to others, it creates a domino effect that then impacts others to do the same. In this way, you’re actually benefiting not only your own health, but the health of those around you as well by spreading this “pay it forward” mentality.
Kindness as part of a holistic health plan
Here at Primal Harvest, we believe in a holistic philosophy to wellness that treats the body as one integrated whole, rather than separate entities.
In other words, in order to truly look and feel your absolute best, it’s essential to nurture every area of our health. This includes not only physical health, but our mental, emotional, and spiritual health as well.
Eating a healthy diet, exercising, and getting plenty of rest each night certainly is the optimal key to longevity. However, it’s not the only piece of the puzzle!
That’s where a holistic approach can help teach us how to unite these different areas of our health to encapsulate one balanced and happy body, inside and out.
So although kindness may seem like an unconventional part of your health plan, several studies now view it as an important tool for total holistic wellness!
The art of kindness
Practicing kindness is truly one of the easiest ways that you can mindfully work towards better overall wellness.
All it really takes is bringing your attention and awareness more to the present moment and focusing on opportunities where you can extend more kindness to others around you. This can be friends, family, and loved ones, or any stranger on the street!
We can extend more kindness simply by embracing a more empathetic, understanding, and compassionate approach to dealing with others. It doesn’t have to involve expensive gifts or grand gestures… even the smallest acts of kindness can have a great impact!
4 Ways That Kindness
Can Benefit Your Health
Many of the health benefits associated with being kinder stem from increased happiness. But that’s not all kindness can do to help promote well-being. Here are just a few of the top ways that kindness can benefit your health.
1. PROMOTES HEALTHY AGING & LONGEVITY
Have you ever noticed that genuinely happy and kind people tend to give off a natural glow that makes them appear ageless? Aging is a natural part of life, but when we maintain a positive mindset that’s centered around kindness and compassion for others, this positive lifestyle tends to have a graceful aging effect on individuals.
One study published in 2019 in the Journal of Social Psychology reported that performing various kindness acts for seven days increased happiness levels, and that the more kind acts participants performed, the higher the reported levels of happiness.
In another study, Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill used telomeres, a classic marker of aging and longevity, to conclude that participants involved in a loving-kindness meditation group had significantly less telomere loss when compared to the control group.
In essence, being kind to others has been shown to increase feelings of happiness and fulfillment, two important factors when it comes to preventing stress-related premature signs of aging. These studies on mood have been pointing to one conclusion: Kind and happy people live longer, healthier lives!
2. ENHANCES FEELINGS OF HAPPINESS & JOY
There are many reasons why being kind to others is known to bring about feelings of enhanced happiness and joy.
One of these reasons is that when you perform an act of kindness, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers are activated, resulting in an increase of dopamine levels. This kindness phenomenon is widely referred to as “helper’s high.”
One recent study of Japanese students found that participants’ subjective happiness was increased simply by counting their own acts of kindness for one week. It also found that happy participants actually became more kind and grateful when counting kindnesses. In other words, you become more kind and happy the more you practice kindness!
3. BOOSTS OVERALL MOOD
Being kind to others just makes you feel great! This natural mood boost and increased feelings of joy, generosity, tranquility, and compassion actually come from an increase in oxytocin.
This “love hormone” is recorded in higher amounts when individuals perform kind deeds, or even when just witnessing others being kind. Oxytocin also plays an important role in helping to reduce free radicals and regulate blood pressure.
4. CAN HELP REDUCE STRESS
Serotonin is a highly important chemical and neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in many areas of our health, including mood, social behavior, sleep, digestion, memory, and more.
Some studies have found that consistently being kind can also spark an increase in serotonin production, therefore also helping to reduce the production of stress-related hormones.
AND THE LIST CONTINUES! SOME OTHER POSSIBLE BENEFITS ALSO INCLUDE...
- Strengthened immune function, improved self-esteem, decreased anxiety, improved mood, lower blood pressure, better relationships, reduced pain, and more!
Tips for getting started
Similarly to any muscle in your body, the more often you intentionally practice being kind, the easier it will become over time.
One excellent way to get into the swing of things is to start planning “random acts of kindness” throughout your week. Random acts of kindness can be done anywhere and at any time, as long as they help make another feel more positive! You’ll notice that you immediately feel happier and more optimistic as well.
Some ideas for adding spontaneous acts of kindness throughout your week include opening doors for strangers, paying for the person behind you at the cashier, donating used clothes or items, mowing an elderly neighbor’s lawn or taking the dog for a walk, donating to a charity of your choice, smiling at others, picking up trash, writing a positive review, or complimenting a stranger.
There are endless options when it comes to spreading kindness!
WHAT TYPES OF KIND ACTS HAVE YOU DONE FOR OTHERS LATELY? LEAVE YOUR SUGGESTIONS FOR SPREADING MORE KINDNESS BELOW OR CONNECT WITH US ON SOCIAL MEDIA BY USING THE HASHTAG #PRIMALHARVEST.
IT'S ABOUT YOU. IT'S ABOUT YOUR HEALTH. IT'S ABOUT RECONNECTING.