By Samina Khan. Masters in Holistic Nutrition
Nine Positive Effects of Kindness on Health &Wellness.
Kindness is not just an action we do for right reasons, in fact this thought, and action has a positive effect on our health and wellness as well. Below are the nine positive effects of kindness on our wellbeing.
- 1. Kindness Produces Feel-Good Happy Hormones.
When we are involved in actions of kindness, hormones which boost serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of well-being and satisfaction are released.
David Hamilton writes, “on a biochemical level, it is believed that the good feeling we get is due to elevated levels of the brain’s natural versions of morphine and heroin, which we know as endogenous opioids. They cause elevated levels of dopamine in the brain and so we get a natural high, often referred to as ‘Helper’s High’.
- 2. Kindness is Good for the Heart
Emotional warmth associated with act of kindness produces the hormone, oxytocin, in the brain and throughout the body. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide in blood vessels, which dilates (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). It means act of kindness can produce oxytocin and therefore kindness can be said to be cardioprotective.
- 3. Kindness Keep Us Younger.
Aging on a biochemical level is a combination of many things, but two reasons that speed the process are Free Radicals and Inflammation, both of which result from making unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Research shows that oxytocin reduces levels of free radicals and inflammation in the cardiovascular system and so slows aging at source. These two reasons also play a major role in heart disease, so this is another reason why kindness is good for the heart.
The scientific journals point out the strong connection between compassion and the activity of the vagus nerve. One study that used the Tibetan Buddhist’s ‘Loving Kindness Compassion’ meditation found that kindness and compassion did, in fact, reduce inflammation in the body, might be due to its effects on the vagus nerve. 
- 4. Kindness Improves Relationships
One of the most important point in living well is how our relationships are with people around us. If we are able to build strong relationships by being kind and considerate of others, definitely we will feel bonded happy and less stressed, all playing the role of health tonics in our wellbeing.
- 5. Kindness has Domino Effect.
David Hamilton writes, “When we’re kind we inspire others to be kind and studies show that it actually creates a ripple effect that spreads outwards to our friends’ friends’ friends – to 3-degrees of separation. Just as a pebble creates waves when it is dropped in a pond, so acts of kindness ripple outwards touching others’ lives and inspiring kindness everywhere the wave goes”. In the New England Journal of Medicine it was named “The ‘domino effect’
6. Kindness can Reduce Anxiety
Another positive effect of kindness on our wellbeing is it can aid in lowering the anxiety. “Social anxiety is associated with low positive affect (PA), which relates to an individual’s experience of positive moods such as joy, interest, and alertness. A four-week study on happiness from the University of British Columbia found that participants who engaged in kind acts displayed major increases in their PA levels that were maintained during the study duration. 
- 7. Kindness May Help Ease Inflammation.
Inflammation in the body is associated in numerous health problems including chronic pain, diabetes, obesity and migraines. For older generations at least, volunteering as an act of kindness may be of benefit to reduce inflammation. In fact, according to one study of older adults aged 57-85, “volunteering manifested the strongest association with lower levels of inflammation.” 
Additionally, oxytocin, also released with acts of kindness, reduces inflammation, and it can directly affect the chemical balance of your heart
8. Kindness Can Reduce Your Stress Levels
Anything that helps you to build bonds with other people is known as ‘affiliative behavior’. According to one study on the effects of pro-social behavior indicated that engaging in pro-social behavior might be an effective strategy for reducing the impact of stress on emotional functioning.” 
9. Kindness: Volunteer Your Time, Skills and Resources.
A study that followed women for 30 years found that 52% of those who did not belong to a volunteer organization experienced major illness compared to 36% of those who were a part of a volunteer organization. 
We can assume all the above reasons related to kindness might have played positive role in their wellbeing!
1.References to studies can be found in David R Hamilton, PhD., ‘The Five Side Effects of Kindness‘ (Hay House, February 2017). http://drdavidhamilton.com/the-5-side-effects-of-kindness/
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