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5 Side Effects of Kindness

textWhen we hear the words “side effects,” it’s often thought of with caution toward prescription drugs. But scientific evidence proves that being kind has side effects too – they benefit your health.

Acts of kindness can indeed be random such as giving up your seat for someone who has trouble standing, returning a lost item you found, helping someone pick up items they dropped, or paying for the person’s coffee in line behind you. All it involves is being aware of what’s happening around you, having compassion, and taking action. Of course, random acts of kindness can also be – not so random. It starts with a goal to do something for someone, whether it’s every day or once a week.

And there are 5 side effects of kindness:

Get a Mood Boost

The more kindness you give, the more it defines you. On a biochemical level, the good feeling causes elevated levels of dopamine in the brain, so you get a natural mental boost. Research also reveals that doing kind acts can make socially-anxious people feel better.

It’s Literally Heart Healthy

Emotional warmth felt after an act of kindness produces the hormone oxytocin in the brain and throughout the body. Oxytocin causes the release of nitric oxide in blood vessels, which expands them and helps temporarily lower blood pressure.

Put the Brakes on Aging

Two culprits that speed the aging process include free radicals and inflammation resulting from unhealthy lifestyle choices. Oxytocin produced through emotional warmth reduces free radicals and inflammation levels, which slows aging at its source.

These culprits also play a significant role in heart disease, another reason why being kind makes your heart healthier.

Feel Connected

Kindness is good for relationships. People are wired for kindness because kindness reduces the emotional distance between two people. When people are kind to each other, they feel a connection. As a result, new relationships are forged, and existing ones are strengthened.

Kindness is Contagious

Acts of kindness touch lives and inspire more kindness everywhere. It begins a “Pay it forward” ripple effect.

Make it a point to be kind and do kind acts for others. It feels good, and it’s good for you, so remind yourself to pay more attention to people and the activities around you. Offer a smile, a helping hand, or your time, and make a habit of helping others.

Read More: 4 Simple but Powerful Ways to Love Your Heart, by Beth Ankeny, CNP