The healing power of kindness: why being good to others can help your health too

The new year represents something different for every individual – but around the world, setting goals and reflecting on our personal journey is a universal act at this time of year.

Kindness is an action that many of us wish we could prioritise more, but in the busy, often individualistic lives we lead, sometimes it could feel like there just isn’t enough room to help others.

Indeed, you couldn’t be blamed for often being focused on optimisation – working smarter, increasing your productivity, earning more money, eating more healthily, or becoming fitter, to name a few examples – but often, this growth mindset can become ego-driven.

Read on to find out how prioritising kindness can not only benefit others, but can also help you become a more productive, happier person overall.

Scientists believe that practising compassion for others can create tangible changes in your own life

The act of practising kindness might seem unfamiliar to many of us. Indeed, you might consider kindness as something that comes naturally in the moment, rather than an active project you work on as part of your personal growth.

But according to Dartmouth University, kindness is not only teachable and contagious, but it has tangible health benefits for those who consciously prioritise it.

According to the research, being kind can:

  • Produce oxytocin, also known as the “pleasure hormone”, and boost the giver’s mood
  • Improve the giver’s self esteem
  • Increase lifespan, with over-55s who volunteer for two or more organisations being 44% less likely to pass away earlier than expected – and that’s removing the factors of previous health conditions, gender, habits like smoking, and marital status.

If you apply the results of this research to your own life, you could find that engraining kindness into your daily routine could improve your mood, health, and overall quality of life.

Kindness can build resilience and reduce anxiety, according to spiritual leaders

Not only does the science tell us that kindness can radically improve your life, but spiritual leaders also swear by the incredible healing power of compassion.

In a report published by Fast Company, meditation expert Vishen Lakhiani, author of The 6 Phase Meditation Method, claims that “[Kindness] reduces your perceived threats. For example, if someone cuts you off on the highway, you don’t think of them being a jerk. You think, ‘Hmm, I wonder what they’re rushing for’”.

Lakhiani goes on to encourage readers to begin practising kindness at home with your spouse, children, and extended family. Then, continue to bring this daily action into your wider life, and observe how it makes you feel – not just about those people, but about yourself and the world at large.

We could all do with a little more kindness in our lives, both towards ourselves and to others.

So, take the advice of the scientists and spiritual healers who have incorporated kindness into every area of their lives, and see how compassion could change your life in 2023 and beyond.

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