Want to be happier, improve your cardiovascular health, slow aging, and improve your relationships with the people around you? All you have to do is heed the sage wisdom of Bill S. Preston, Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan and be excellent to each other. Wait, what?
According to numerous studies, a little bit of kindness can go a long way when it comes to your health. Staying positive and lending out a helping hand can also make a positive impact on those around you and make you feel better about yourself as well.
And it’s not hard to do. All it takes is a kind word to someone who needs it, holding a door open for someone whose hands are full, volunteering to help a worthy cause, donating a few bucks to a charity, lending a sympathetic ear, or any number of helpful activities.
Here are just a few of the ways that a little thoughtfulness can benefit your health:
It’s Good for the Heart
Performing generous acts releases a hormone known as oxytocin into your system. While the traditional role of oxytocin takes place during childbirth and breastfeeding, it is also known to lower blood pressure and protect your cardiovascular system by expanding the blood vessels. It can also slow the aging process as well.
It Lowers Stress
Chronic stress can have a serious effect on your health, leading to fatigue, chest pain, sleep problems, and more, which can in turn lead to more serious conditions.
Staying optimistic and spreading a little positivity is proven to reduce stress and its negative effects. Just be sure to keep that in mind the next time you’re feeling stressed in traffic and feel like cutting off that slow mover.
It Reduces Social Anxiety
If you tend to avoid social situations due to anxiety, you may want to try doing some nice things for the people around you.
A 2015 study revealed that participants with social anxiety who performed acts of kindness were able to reduce their fear of rejection, which made it easier for participants to interact with others.
It Helps Fight Negative Emotions
We’ve all been there before. Things don’t go our way, and the first thing we do is beat ourselves up and open the door wide for negative emotions like fear, self-doubt, and anger to take over.
While no amount of kindness will help you completely avoid negative emotions, practicing kindness toward yourself can help keep you from going overboard, and can pave the way for more positive thoughts to swoop in and save the day.
It Leads to More Kindness
When someone does something nice for you, it can do more than just brighten up your day. It can also act as a reminder to do likewise when the opportunity presents itself.
Recent studies prove that you don’t even need to experience kindness firsthand; witnessing an act of kindness, or even reading about it can motivate you to join the fun and pay it forward. Why not be the one who gets things started?
Bottom line, it never hurts to be nice to others. No, you don’t have to be Mother Teresa in order to reap the benefits, but it’s definitely worth reminding yourself to make an effort next time you feel the urge to give the side eye or lay a verbal smackdown.