We think of side effects of drugs but did you know that kindness has side effects too and they are positive ones?!
1. Kindness Makes Us Happier
It is thought that this good feeling we get is due to raised levels of the brain’s natural versions of morphine and heroin, which are also known as endogenous opioids. They cause increased levels of dopamine in the brain so we get a natural high, often referred to as ‘Helpers High’.
2. Kindness Gives Us Healthier Hearts.
Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric acid which expands the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and therefore oxytocin is known as a ‘cardioprotective’ hormone because it protects the heart by lowering blood pressure.
3. Kindness Slows Aging
Research now shows that oxytocin reduces levels of free radicals and inflammation in the cardiovascular system and slows aging at the source. Free radicals and inflammation play a part in heart disease so this is another reason why kindness is good for our heart.
There have also been suggestions in the scientific journals that there is a strong link between compassion and the activity of the Vagus nerve.
The vagus nerve controls inflammation levels in the body as well as regulating the heart rate.
A study that used the Tibetan Buddhist’s ‘Loving, Kindness ,Compassion’ meditation found that compassion and kindness did reduce inflammation in the body most likely due to its effects on the vagus nerve.
For a copy of this Meditation please contact Nicky@mind-bodywellness.co.uk and ask if you can have a copy.
4. Kindness Makes For Better Relationships
It’s easy to like someone who is kind to us, this is because kindness reduces the emotional distance between two people and helps you become more connected. This in turn helps you make new relationships and helps existing relationships to grow stronger.
5. Kindness is Contagious
An anonymous donor donated his kidney which started a ‘pay it forward’ type ripple where other family members of recipients of a kidney donated one too. This caused a domino effect and ended up with 10 people receiving a kidney as a result of that one anonymous donor.
Now that is the Power of Kindness!!
So what can you do today to help start a “Pay it forward” type ‘kindness ripple’?
- Pay a toll for the car behind you at a toll booth?
- Buy someone a coffee
- Compliment someone
- Pop into an elderly neighbour for a ‘cuppa’
- Buy a scratch card for someone and give it to someone you don’t know
- Or even smile and say hi to random people (I do this all the time much to the embarrassment of my husband and friends). But smiles are contagious and make you feel good – so what an easy gift to give someone, isn’t it?
I’d love to hear what you decide to do. Spread the Kindness, Spread Happiness!