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The Remarkable Mental Health Benefits of Kindness

How do acts of kindness make you feel? Science says kindness can improve both your mental and physical health by decreasing:

  • Stress

  • Pain

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Blood pressure

Acts of kindness can also help increase

  • Serotonin (the mood hormone, promotes the feeling of well-being)

  • Happiness

  • Lifespan

  • Pleasure

  • Energy

  • Oxytocin (the love hormone)

These benefits are felt by those on the giving and receiving ends of the kind acts. What’s even more fascinating is that kindness is super contagious. When someone sees you being kind, they can be filled with the same feel-good hormones too, and then they will likely pay it forward. And on it goes, the “Kindness, pass it on” mentality.

Youth can benefit too. Those who engage in acts of kindness are thought to be more well connected, have higher levels of peer acceptance, and are less likely to bully others. Adults should keep in mind that they are role models in this regard and can help encourage acts of kindness by:

  • Modeling acts of kindness

  • Inspiring positive actions toward others

  • Teaching empathy and compassion

  • Reinforcing kind acts by acknowledging those behaviors in youth

Benefits of Kindness at Work

According to one study, people who were treated kindly at work repaid it by being 278% more generous to coworkers compared to a control group. Being kind at work increases job statisfaction, and can create a morale-boosting wave throughout an organization.

Kindness in Leadership

Another study showed that many leaders view kindness as a core value. When viewed this way and communicated consistently, employees are happier and more productive. Financial performance also increases.

These are four key attributes of kind leaders:

  • Empathy

  • Altruism

  • Respect

  • Fairness

Interestingly, another study by the Harvard Business Review found that “being tough as nails” had negative consequences, including increased employee stress, high health care, more turnover, and increased psychological distress.

Being kind had the opposite effect increasing trust and a sense of belonging. Self-sacrificing leaders gain loyal and committed employees, according to the study. These employees are friendlier and more helpful to colleagues.

 The bottom line? Be kind, at work, at home, in your community, in public, wherever you go. The benefits are remarkable.

Kindness Acts to Get You Started

Need some ideas on where to start? Check these out:

At home and in your community

  • Check on a neighbor who may need help

  • Help a friend or family member with a project

  • Tell your family how much you appreciate them

  • Give your seat to an elderly, disabled, or pregnant person

  • Help a tourist who is lost

  • Say hello to a homeless person, give him/her a bottle of water

  • Hold the door for someone

  • Pick up trash lying in the street

At work

  • Remember to say hi to colleagues and ask how they are

  • Offer to buy a coffee for your colleague

  • Get to know a new staff member

  • Listen to a colleague having a bad day

  • Praise a coworker for something they have done well

Our Acts of Kindness Challenge

In the spirit of kindness and all the benefits that come from it, we invite you to join our Capture Kindness campaign on social media. Here’s how it works:

  • If you witness real acts of kindness, grab a quick video or photo and post it to Instagram and mention us. 

  • Every quarter we’ll hold a poll to determine the best act of kindness.

  • The winner will receive ten $10 gift cards to anywhere they want. They can keep some for themselves or pay it forward by giving some to others.  

 “I am very passionate about my community because I know when it’s kind and healthy, the world is a better place,” says Core Recovery Founder Jillian Vanselow.

“Our goal is to start a wave of kindness throughout our community. We’re not looking for staged events, but real-life things people do to help others, their community, or the environment. We know they’re out there, and we want to celebrate them and start a chain reaction that spreads across our community.“

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