Well, the February edition of the Setting the Path e-magazine is out, and this is the Saint Valentine special – where we explore ways to measure improvements in your own life by what you can do for others – for those who haven’t subscribed, here’s a sneak peak of what’s inside.
It’s the gesture that counts
Who doesn’t like being given something? That cup of coffee from a workmate, those couple of extra coins from a stranger behind you in a queue when you’ve come up short. Sometimes those little things can leave a lasting impression that can linger on to become the good things you do. It’s called kindness. And believe it or not, someone out there has measured the positive effects it can have on you. He’s Dr David Hamilton, author of “Why Kindness is Good for You”. In his research he has found five positive side effects from acts of kindness that can even save lives.
1. Kindness makes you happier – doing something for someone else can give a profound sense of being ‘a good person’, and on a biochemical level, that ‘good feeling’ is from elevated levels of dopamine – an actual physical reaction to doing something nice.
2. Kindness gives us healthier hearts – the emotional warmth generated by an act of kindness releases the hormone oxytocin – which through a chain of chemical reactions reduces blood pressure and stress on the heart.
3. Kindness slows ageing – once again connected to the release of oxytocin, the hormone reduces the free radicals in the blood stream which cause ageing as well as acting on the vagus nerve which controls inflammation in the body.
4. Kindness makes for better relationships – it does this by reducing the emotional distance between two people and strengthens their bonding. Historically, strong emotional ties were necessary to survive in the caveman world, so we’ve become genetically wired to be kind, just to stay alive – which helps explain the physical benefits we’ve already covered.
5. Kindness is contagious – we are easily inspired to be kind, something nice for us becomes a good turn for someone else, the old ‘paying it forward’ principle. A case documented by the New England Journal of Medicine involved an anonymous 28-year old walking into a transplant clinic and donating a kidney. So many relatives and friends were touched by this altruistic gesture, that ten more people received donated kidneys as a result.
So the next time you see someone who deserves a little bit of kindness, particularly in light of Queensland’s latest floods, you can jump in and help, it’s good for you and them.
Don’t forget to check out our website for those monthly specials at https://www.settershealthcentre.com.au/special-offer
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