Random Act of Kindness Day
Did you know that the 17th of February is Random Acts of Kindness Day?
We all value kindness because it’s a positive attribute that is more often than not associated with happiness. From an evolutionary perspective, kindness is a trait that humans have evolved to hold, alongside empathy, to aid with cooperation, which was once a key factor in survival among homo sapiens. Although it might not directly affect our survival anymore, there are still surprisingly many scientific benefits to being kind!
1. It changes your brain chemistry:
Physiologically, kindness can positively affect your brain. Being kind boosts serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters that light up the pleasure/reward centres in your brain, and make you feel happy, satisfied and generally good. Endorphins, which are famously released after exercise, also can be released. This feel-good chemical heals your wounds, calms you down, and makes you happy
2. It reduces blood pressure:
Performing acts of kindness has been linked to lower blood pressure. Being kind creates a sense of emotional warmth, which releases oxytocin, or as you might know it, the love hormone. 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.
3. It reduces stress:
Some studies have shown that consistently kind people have up to 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and show slower signs of ageing relative to the average population.
4. It supports a long lifespan:
Research has shown that people who volunteer for charities and good causes tend to experience fewer aches and pains. It is thought that showing kindness through the act of helping others can protect overall health and increase your lifespan. People 55 and older who volunteered for two or more organisations had an incredible 44% lower likelihood of dying early, even after considering other significant contributing factors, including physical health, alcohol intake, exercise, gender, smoking, and so on.
Here are 10 random acts of kindness to try and incorporate into your daily life:
- Compliment a stranger
- Pick up some rubbish from the floor
- Cook dinner for your friends/family
- Give blood
- Donate to a charity
- Give someone a handwritten note of appreciation
- Send an inspirational quote to a friend
- Have a conversation with the shop assistant when paying
- Tell someone you are proud of them
- Pay for a stranger’s coffee