Being kind and helping others benefits everyone, including you. Here’s how.
Ever notice how it feels good to do something good? Whether you’re delivering groceries to an elderly neighbor, organizing a clothing drive for a homeless shelter, volunteering at your local hospital or simply holding the door open for a stranger, random acts of kindness benefit you more than you may realize. They also of course benefit the person or people you are helping.
Knowing that you’re making someone else’s day brighter or easier may be all the incentive you need to be kind and help others. But if you need a few more reasons why it pays to do good, here they are:
- You’ll produce oxytocin. When you perform or witness acts of kindness, it produces a hormone called oxytocin. This hormone may not only increase optimism and self-esteem, but it may even lower blood pressure. That makes being kind good for your heart in more ways than one.
- You’ll produce serotonin. When you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up and your body produces serotonin, a feel-good chemical that makes you happy. This is often referred to as a helper’s high.
- You may be more energetic. After you help others, it may give you a boost of energy. It may also increase your feelings of self-worth.
- You may have lower blood pressure. Volunteering may reduce stress and lower your blood pressure. Research from Carnegie Mellon University showed that older adults who volunteered at least 200 hours a year lowered their risk of high blood pressure by 40 percent.
- It may prolong your life. Not only does doing good make you feel good, but the health benefits it offers may even help you live longer. A meta-analysis of research published in the journal Psychology and Aging showed that people aged 55 and older who volunteered for at least two organizations had a 47 percent lower chance of dying early. This may be because it helps manage stress, decreases loneliness and reduces depression.
- It gives you a sense of purpose. You may feel fulfilled and empowered when you help others and this feeling often lasts long after your act of kindness has passed.
- It keeps things in perspective. If you have been feeling down about things in your life lately, you’ll likely find that helping people less fortunate than yourself makes you feel more positive about your own circumstances. This can improve your mental health.
Copyright 2022-2023 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc.
Health eCooks™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc.
Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.
Date Last Reviewed: December 14, 2022
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD