Need a boost? Consider volunteering your time and giving back to your community. Not only do you make someone else feel better, but you also probably notice a little uptick in your confidence as well. That’s because practicing kindness has actually been scientifically proven to improve your health and mood.
If improving your happiness and overall well-being is something you are actively trying to do, follow along as we explain why helping others is a good place to start.
Probably one of the most important factors in why practicing kindness is important to our health is that is gives us a sense of purpose in direction in our life. When you volunteer your time to something you are passionate about, you find a group to belong to. We are social creatures and having a solid identity with a like-minded group is very grounding and fulfilling. This is particularly important if you are recently out of school, retired or an empty nester. Finding the next “thing” you identify yourself will continue to keep you happy and healthy.
Volunteering or practicing random acts of kindness goes beyond mental and social health, however. Studies have shown those who dedicate some part of their life to kindness have lower blood pressure and decreased chronic pain. It is believed this is due to an increased social schedule which coincidentally lowers the stress levels that come from being lonely. As we have stated in other blog posts, stress is a major contributing cause to most health issues but can be remedied by doing things that decrease stress levels. Volunteering or performing random acts of kindness is a great way to decrease your stress and decrease your physical health issues too.
It should come as no surprise that if altruism can improve your mental, social, and physical health that it will also increase your longevity. While any acts of kindness or volunteer work you perform may seem small in scale, they truly have large affects in multiple arenas of your life (and others). People who volunteer show improved stress management, reduced rates of depression and an increased sense of satisfaction with their life. Honestly, who doesn’t want that?
Finally, being kind just feels better than being grumpy and sour all the time. Even if you don’t care about how being nice affects you and your health, simply knowing you improved someone else’s day should make devoting some of your time to others more worthwhile. Life is tough. We all know and experience this from time to time which is why it is important we take opportunities big and small to brighten other’s day. Kindness is contagious and we could all use a lot more of that in our lives.