How To Spread Positive Vibes: The Science of Kindness
Take a second to think of a person who makes you smile. Now, think about their core attributes. Are they funny, supportive, insightful, and kind? Chances are, the image that popped up in your head is of a kind and wonderful person. Most of us do try to lead with kindness every day—sometimes stumbling and letting our emotions get the best of us, of course—but there are good science-backed reasons to practice kindness. We want to get into some facts about kindness today.
What Is Kindness
Inspired Kindness talks about what kindness is in a compelling way:
“Kindness goes beyond merely being nice. Think about it – would you prefer people to describe you to be “kind” or “nice?” There can be a lack of sincerity in just being nice; there is often a perception of doing the minimum. Whereas, being kind is doing intentional, voluntary acts of kindness. Not only when it’s easy to be kind, but when it’s hard to be.”
Even when it’s difficult, we should be kind. That’s where practices like loving-kindness meditation come to play. Kindness is also generally looked at as an action—giving time to others, helping, etc., are all attributes people think of when they consider what kindness is. But, beyond that, kindness does a lot of good for you and others.
Kindness Makes Others Feel Better
Our partner, Kindness.org, does a fantastic job explaining causation vs. correlation, and the scientific study of kindness in an easy-to-understand way. In their research on whether or not kindness creates happiness they analyzed 21 different studies and found that, in fact, kindness does boost happiness by .8 (or almost one whole point) out of 10. And, with how simple kindness is—giving a compliment to a stranger, offering a helping hand when someone is in need, being there for someone who needs to chat—gifting someone that .8 jump in their happiness is worth it.
Kindness Makes You Feel Good
Being kind should not be a selfish act, but the positivity felt by the receiver also extends to the “actor” (giver of kindness). On Happiness.com, one story illustrates how a series of kind acts led the actor themselves feeling a sense of pride and happiness, which remained for much of the day thereafter.
Teaching Kids Kindness
So, when should the discussion of kindness start? As early as possible seems to be the consensus. When you teach a child about kindness, you teach them to recognize positive things in the world. This could help your child walk through the world more proud of themselves, and with more positive energy overall.
Scientific Benefits of Being Kind
Being kind is good for you. No, not just in the ‘I feel fantastic’ sort of way (which is wonderful in and of itself), but in the mental and physical health sort of way. The science behind kindness proves this over and over again. And while there can always be more studies, much evidence shows that kindness is good for all.
Kindness Helps With Anxiety
Many of us have social anxiety. Walking into a room full of people we don’t know—for some of us—induces a sweaty panic. But, research shows promising evidence that kind acts help to ease social anxiety. Along with that, participants in this particular study showed more satisfaction in their relationships while practicing kindness as well. While there is still a lot more research to be done in this area, we think being kind is worth a shot for improving mental health.
It’s Good For The Heart
Oxytocin is a hormone that is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone.” It is the hormone that is released when we snuggle with someone or bond with others socially. When this hormone is released, our blood pressure is lowered, and our self-esteem goes up.
Kindness, particularly loving-kindness meditation, has been linked to helping reduce pain from migraines, and less chronic pain overall. That, mixed with the other benefits like higher self-esteem, a more positive outlook, and the like all lead to improved help overall.
Ways to Be Kind Today
There are a multitude of ways to show your kindness to the world. We have created resources to help you think through easy-to-do, meaningful acts of kindness on our blog. We have also dedicated an entire section of our digital wellness platform, iChuze Fitness, to kindness. In our Heart section, you will find out more about our wonderful partnership with Kindness.org and have the chance to take a pledge for kindness. With your pledges, we donate money to organizations that you care about to extend your kindness to the world.
If you would like to try out iChuze Fitness, sign up for a free pass. You can use iChuze Fitness anytime, anywhere on your favorite device—even in our locations. We cannot wait to watch as your kindness impacts the world. Remember that one act of kindness can cause a ripple effect of happiness and wellness for yourself and others. So, get out there and be kind today.