World Kindness Day is celebrated every 13th of November. It was first introduced in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement. Kindness is an essential part of our humanity and has the power to bridge the divides of race, religion, borders, and gender.
Kindness does not have a certain definition; its meaning cannot be limited by simple one-word comparisons such as empathy or sympathy. It stems from love and love yields respect, solidarity, and generosity. These values are what make us human.
Many studies show that kindness is healthy for the brain and is considered one of the foundations of a meaningful life.
Here are 4 reasons why kindness specifically benefits your brain.
1. Kindness Makes Us Happier:
A Study conducted at the University of California in which a group of people were asked to do random acts of kindness daily for about 2 months showed that happiness levels of the volunteers increased by about 40%.
Another study done at Harvard found 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 pleasure, social connection, and trust in the brain. Scientists also found that when someone simply thinks of the idea of giving, endorphins and oxytocin hormones, which elevate the mood, are released, making him/her feel better and happier for hours.
2. Kindness Creates a Positive Feedback Loop in Your Brain
Kindness makes us happier and happiness makes us kinder.
Researchers found that when someone is happy, they are more likely to be giving and kind to others. Studies suggest a kind of positive feedback loop between being happy and being kind.
3. Kindness and Togetherness Increase Social Connection and Bonding
Our brains are programmed to be social. Our brains know that the survival rate of the group is higher than that of the individual.
Some studies suggest that social connection enhances our physical performance and mental clarity.
When you do something good for 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 bond between individuals stronger.
4. Kindness Decreases Pain, Anxiety, and Stress:
Scientists found that when someone does something nice for someone else, their brain releases 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 done on a group of people suffering from anxiety asked participants to do at least 6 acts of kindness weekly. After 4 weeks, their social avoidance decreased and their mood elevated significantly.
One of the best qualities of our brain is its neuroplasticity. No matter how small your act of kindness may be it is still good for your brain. Every day try a new act. Things like smiling more, giving compliments, and helping others really make a difference. Just spread kindness in any possible way and you will see the benefits.