Contagious? That sounds like a cheeky word to be using during a pandemic…
But… can you remember that feeling you experience when someone does something kind for you?
Or, when you show compassion towards someone in your life? It’s those thoughtful actions you experience that make you feel valued. Sometimes kindness is an impromptu coffee catch up with a mate or giving a chocolate to a work colleague when they are having one of ‘those’ days. If you’re really lucky, it may be a clean house and cooked dinner waiting for you when you get home (big win).
The purest form of kindness has no audience and offers no credit. We do it just because we can. And it makes us feel gooood. Why is that?
When we do something compassionate for someone else, our brain’s ‘feel good’ centres light up like a Christmas tree, releasing the euphoric hormone, dopamine.
This is known as ‘helpers high’. Let’s add some oxytocin (the love hormone) into the mix, as this helps us to form trusting and positive bonds with others. Lastly (but most importantly) if we get a serotonin (the mood regulator hormone) hit, this will give us a big boost of happiness. We have a wonderful concoction here.
Kindness can increase happiness, self-esteem, empathy, mood, and a sense of connection with others. It can also decrease blood pressure, cortisol (stress hormone), loneliness, depression, anxiety, and pain. I’m not seeing any negatives here, are you?
The research shows that by being kind to others (yes, even to that ‘interesting’ neighbour) or being a direct bystander to an act of kindness, this boosts our happiness. When someone is kind or shows their empathy towards us, we will be more motivated to act in the same way. Not surprisingly, if those feel-good hormones are activated, we will want more and more of that feeling, not just the 3–4-minute high.
Engaging in acts that are motivated by generosity, compassion and kindness can actually benefit you as much as it does to the person you’re helping.
People’s kind and thoughtful behaviours can truly rub off on you.
Kindness contagion- lets contribute to the spread.