How great is that feeling you experience when someone does something kind for you? Or, when you show compassion towards someone in your life?
November 13th marks National Kindness Day, but also a timely reminder going into the festive season to keep space and practice kindness for ourselves, and showing compassion and kindness for others.
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. Kindness is also something so simple and doesn’t cost anything – even better! 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.
The research shows that by being kind to others, simply giving someone a smile, 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.
People’s kind and thoughtful behaviours can truly rub off on you.
This festive season, carry kindness for yourself and others, and check out our helpful tips over the 12 Days of Christmas on our socials, and don’t forget to take a minute to check in with yourself or someone else and reach out for support if you’re experiencing a challenging time.