Updated: Nov 14, 2019
In honor of World Kindness Day, here are five cool facts about kindness.
1. Kindness Makes Us Happier:
In a study conducted at the University of California, a group of people were asked to do daily random acts of kindness for 2 months. The results showed increased levels of happiness by about 40% in the study's volunteers.
Another study conducted at Harvard discovered that giving money to strangers makes people happier than spending the money on themselves.
These studies show that performing acts of kindness activates areas of the brain responsible for pleasure, social connection, and trust. Additionally, scientists discovered that when someone even thinks of the idea of giving, endorphins and oxytocin hormones, which elevate the mood, are released, thus making him/her feel better and happier for hours.
2. Kindness Causes a 'Helper's High':
Kindness doesn’t just benefit the recipient - the giver scores a free high. ✨ The ‘helper’s high’ is another name for the uplifting feeling experienced after doing a good deed or act of kindness. On a biochemical level, it is believed this good feeling is due to elevated levels of the brain’s natural versions of morphine and heroine, otherwise known as endogenous opioids. They cause elevated levels of dopamine in the brain, thus causing a natural high. This high is rooted in natural instincts to help our fellow humans. Evolution has wired us to help each other since helping others is beneficial to human survival.
3. Kindness Creates a Positive-Feedback Loop in Your Brain:
Kindness makes us happier and happiness makes us kinder - it's a cycle. Researchers found that when someone is happy, they are more likely to give and express kindness to others. Therefore, studies suggest a positive feedback loop between happiness and kindness.
4. Kindness Increases Social Connection:
Humans, and our brains, are programmed to be part of groups. Evolutionary speaking, we crave community as our brains understand survival rate is higher when in a group.
Some studies suggest that social connection enhances our physical performance and mental clarity. When you do something good to someone, it includes a degree of social connection and sentimental bonding. The connections resulting from kindness promote our sense of trust and cooperation. This makes the bonds between individuals stronger.
5. Kindness Decreases Pain, Anxiety, and Stress:
Scientists found that when someone does something nice to someone else, their brains release endorphins which are the most potent natural painkiller.
Cortisol is the stress hormone. Studies say that kind people have 23% less cortisol than other people.
A study was made on a group of persons suffering from anxiety. The persons, who were highly anxious, were asked to do at least 6 acts of kindness weekly. After 4 weeks, their social avoidance decreased and their mood elevated significantly.