Studies have shown that being nicer to people not only makes you feel good but can have tangible health benefits. If you need a little extra motivation to be kind to people, consider these three benefits.
- The Helper’s High
Whether you are participating in an organized kindness effort, such as wholesale kindness, or just trying to be a little nicer every day, being nice can stimulate the reward centers of your brain, triggering an effect known as “the helper’s high.” In addition to making you feel good, this effect has been shown to decrease depression, lower the risk of cognitive impairment and even help you live longer.
- Pain Reduction
Researchers have found that the regions of the brain that react to painful stimulation can be made less active by acts of kindness. For instance, one study found that when people were asked to donate money to orphans before receiving an electrical shock, not only did those who said they would give experience less pain, but those who believed the most that their donations would be helpful experienced the least amount of pain.
- Increase in Happiness
Research has shown that not only can being kind increase your happiness, but it can do so in as little as three days. People who take the time to find creative ways to be kind seem to experience the greatest increases in happiness. Participating in a variety of different acts of kindness produces better results than doing the same activity over and over. It does not seem to matter whether the acts are anonymous or public or whether they are spontaneous or planned.
Whatever your personality type and preferred activities are, there is probably a way you can reap the benefits of regular acts of kindness. Simply being nicer can be a quick, easy and inexpensive way to boost your health and well-being, while also helping others.