The science behind kindness

Community Services #1 5 June 2020
Thinking of you

Members from Community Services #1 Spanish seniors group made these cards by hand and sent them to other members to let them know they are thinking of them during these trying times. Photo: Supplied.

Community Services #1 recently launched their Kindness Matters project to spread community connection and kindness within the community, and the good news is, not only does it feel good to do something kind, it is actually good for you.

Research shows the physiological effects of kindness include decreasing stress levels, reducing anxiety and depression, and increasing energy levels. Dartmouth University research also shows kindness actually helps you live longer.

Community Services #1 works with people of all ages to strengthen communities by delivering aged care, community services and children and youth services across Canberra.

Christine Carter, author of Raising Happiness: In Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents, says people who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains.

“Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organisations have an impressive 44 per cent lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church,” Carter said.

“Kindness also increases the love hormone, your energy levels, pleasure by producing a helper’s ‘high’ and the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a feel-good chemical that heals wounds, calms you down and makes you happy.”

The science shows that while kindness increases your lifespan, it can also lower blood pressure which protects your heart by producing a cardioprotective hormone, oxytocin. Being kind also decreases pain by producing endorphins, the brain’s natural painkiller and reduces stress levels which in turn makes you age slower and reduces anxiety and depression.

True kindness starts with being kind to yourself. In a pressure-filled society, it’s easy to not look after yourself properly. But it is much easier to treat other people better when we’ve taken care of ourselves.

For the Kindness Matters project, Community Services #1 will be sharing a suggested random act of kindness each week via their social channels @cs1canberra or Facebook. They encourage participants to share their deeds via the hashtag #kindnessmatters.

Remember that kindness is lasting and #kindnessmatters. Something kind that you do now will have a lasting effect on someone for many years to come.

To receive the Kindness Matters weekly challenge in your inbox, subscribe via this link make sure to click the checkbox Kindness Matters.

Kindness Matters

Join the Kindness Matters project by Community Services #1. Image: Supplied.

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