In today’s world, being nice is not as common as it should be. Many people ignore compassion for material growth and superficial success. We are often too busy with the hustle and bustle of daily life to take time to perform random acts of kindness. It’s sad!
But what if you found out that being nice isn’t just something you do for others? What if it’s something that can help you too? What if compassion could drastically alter your world in ways you might not have thought possible? Here are 9 powerful ways random acts of kindness can change your life.
1. They reduce stress
When you are kind to others, you divert your brain’s attention to other people for a time. This is a way of prosocial behavior or behaviors performed to help others, and may bond in what is known as affiliative behavior.
Prosocial behavior is known to have tremendous positive effects on stress levels, helping people cope with different stressors in life. In fact, it has been studied numerous times, and each time it stands out for reducing the impact of stress and even helping in the management of a more balanced emotional function.
Meanwhile, affiliative behavior also has its benefits. You are forming a close bond and creating good feelings within yourself from the hormones of well-being and pride in your actions. This is why altruism is often cited as a way for people to find happiness and even health!
2. Random acts of kindness improve heart health
Yes, we have all heard about how your heart can feel “warmed” when you perform acts of kindness towards others. That sentiment is compelling for those who are not expecting it and are truly touched and moved by it. But your heart doesn’t really just heat up. You also help him physically.
You see, random acts of kindness produce a positive hormone in the body known as oxytocin. This feel-good neurotransmitter works even more by facilitating the production of more nitric oxide in the body, particularly in the blood vessels. This means that those vessels dilate with the nitric oxide or expand. This results in:
- Better circulation
- Better transport of nutrients throughout the body.
- Reduced blood pressure
In fact, even though most of the time it is only associated with positive thinking, oxytocin is also often considered a cardioprotective neurotransmitter – that’s how effective it is! So adding acts of kindness to your day can improve cardiovascular health in surprisingly helpful and healthy ways.
3. Your perception of changes in life
It’s a little cheesy to think about, but performing random acts of kindness changes your life more profoundly by changing your perceptions and views of the world around you. Think about it: random acts of kindness are unconditional, selfless, and non-binding forms of love and care, given without the intention of receiving in return. This gives you a subconscious opportunity to:
- Acknowledge the existence of selfless kindness in the world around you, whether it be from yourself or for others.
- Spend more time considering additional acts of kindness that you can continue to do, so you spend less time and less negativity
- Eliminate some of the jaded skepticism that may linger in your brain about the authenticity of generosity or altruism.
- View your relationships and bonds with more respect and love as you spend more time thinking positively about them.
- Accept kindness from others when you realize that everyone could use a hand or even a smile sometimes, and you are in a better position to receive
- Feel more hopeful and create purer intentions in your daily life, which could change your attitude and values for the better.
Other than those subtle shifts in perspective, you can’t get out of the equation when you act nice. There is something special about realizing that your actions have made someone’s day. In fact, you can do the world seems much less bleak. It elevates you to a place of positive thinking!
For whatever reason, when you give to others as an act of love, you naturally receive feelings of love. It is quite an interesting phenomenon, since your emotions respond more positively when you make others happy. This means that loving others gives you the feeling of being loved, and that’s not just a subjective statement either.
In fact, a study titled “Reflecting on Acts of Kindness Toward Yourself: Emotions, Generosity, and the Role of Social Norms,” published in 2012 in The Journal of Positive Psychology, found several interesting facts about how emotional responses to kindness can enhance this aspect. You’ll:
- Feel more loved
- Feel the awe of the acts of love
- Get more optimistic
- Experience more positive thinking
- Achieve better self-esteem
5. Reduce anxiety
Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time along its wide and complex spectrum. You may get a little nervous at times, or have severe panic disorders, or fall between the two extremes. Whatever the case, it is unlikely that you have ever felt anxiety in your life.
A study titled “If It Makes You Happy: Engaging in Kind Acts Increases Positive Affect in Socially Anxious People,” which was conducted by the University of British Columbia and published in Emotion magazine in 2013, revealed that kindness could be an effective way to handle such anxiety.
Research conducted in a randomized control trial indicated that a low positive effect is generally associated with anxiety, especially social anxiety. Positive Affection, in this case, can be defined as positive experiences of alertness, interest, happiness, joy, etc.
But here’s the catch: The researchers found that those who performed acts of kindness were able to enjoy a much greater occurrence of positive affect in just one month. Even small random acts of kindness helped significantly, reducing your social anxiety in the long run.
6. Improve relationships
This is a pretty obvious point to consider. When you are kind to the people in your life, especially when it is not expected, you are creating a stronger bond with them. Instead, relationships that would have stalled or split are strengthened when you take the time to be nice to the other party, and they most likely reciprocate your kindness, leading to a growing bond.
Kindness is part of human nature, believe it or not. It is integrated into our systems. After all, our ancestors who came before us needed to work together to survive, and the more bonds they formed, the better their chances of handling the difficult life of the old days.
Although we no longer need to band together to survive the outdoors and the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, humans still build connections through cooperation. Be nice to the people around you, and they will be nice in turn, and your connections will grow and grow!
7. They can increase your productivity
Kindness can benefit you in somewhat surprising ways. If you’re looking to be more productive, try to be nicer to the people you work with, and if you’re in a leadership position, start encouraging more kindness among those who work below you.
A study published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior in 2008, called “The Contours and Consequences of Compassion at Work,” indicated that the act of imposing compassion as part of the office culture could lead to increased productivity. Several reasons for this can be logically concluded, such as employees who:
- You won’t be afraid of micromanaging prominent figures.
- They become less likely to participate in unhealthy forms of competition.
- They are likely to cooperate, leading to better productivity and job results.
8. They can prevent disease
Many diseases occur with something called inflammation, which occurs when blood collects in certain areas. The answer aims to help clear an infection, heal wounds, or heal problems. It is the reason why your temperature rises when you get an infection that causes a fever or why parts of the body that are injured tend to get hot.
When it occurs chronically, inflammation can be a risk factor for developing the following conditions:
- chronic pain
Believe it or not, kindness can help reduce inflammation. Hence, it leads to a reduced risk of disease.
Investigation entitled “Do Productive Activities Reduce Inflammation in Old Age? Multiple roles, frequency of activities and C-reactive protein ”, published in 2014 in the journal Gerontologist, indicates that older adults who volunteer have the lowest levels of inflammation. Go figure!
9. Random acts of kindness can facilitate change and evolution
A broader way that random acts of kindness can change your life is more surprising than you might expect. You see, kindness in sufficient quantities can become a feedback loop. It inspires others to be kind, which inspires more people to be kind, and so on. It’s the kind of positive cycle we really need in life today. So put all that good energy on important things.
In the long run, this means that random acts of kindness have the power to change not only your life, but also the lives of everyone around you, and potentially the lives of every human being. Here are some thoughts to consider when trying to understand the evolution of humanity through goodness:
- An act of kindness can drastically change someone’s life for the better or even change their life entirely, allowing them to play a bigger role in the cycle of kindness.
- When you do something unexpected but beautiful in someone’s life, you remind them of the beauty that they too can create and the beauty that already exists in this world.
- Your random act of kindness can change someone else’s perspective enough to get them back on track with positive thinking.
- When you are kind, you serve as an example to the people around you about what is possible and what can happen in the world.
- Teaching others indirectly about kindness can promote kindness as a core value for future generations, strengthening the unity, compassion, and love that humanity has for one another as the decades pass.
You shouldn’t need a reason to perform random acts of kindness for the goodness of your heart. Hopefully, these powerful insights outlined today will convince you that it’s time to start exercising compassion more regularly!