Be kind, it does you (really) good!


Do not deprive yourself of kindness: it is good for others, for your morale and also for your personal health!

Written by Paul Malo, November 15, 2020, at 12:05

Don’t settle for the annual Kindness Day to practice it. Its health and morale benefits are scientifically proven.

Taking care of others, taking care of themselves

Smiling is probably good, but practicing kindness on a daily basis probably does even more, adds happiness to life. It is a known and scientifically proven fact for many years now: being kind is not only good in terms of living together, to relieve or avoid tension. It’s also good for your health!

From the cradle, empathy, the need for exchange and human relationship are evident in newborns, clearly sensitive to the sadness or anger around them as well as to positive feelings. This is a quality that seems as innate as it is acquired, as it has been possible to study on primates. But fundamentally, taking care of others also means taking care of yourself, even though that’s probably not the main goal.

Helping others is helping yourself © Halfpoint

Since the early 2000s, a study by Hope College, in the United States XX, had thus highlighted that resentment, revenge, all these negative emotions caused an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Conversely, asking the volunteers in this study to imagine forgiving after an assault revealed increased levels of physiological stress. Morality: carrying a grudge is not good for health

Less stressed and better self-esteem

Beyond that, we can also go so far as to say that kindness produces kindness. This time, it was a study conducted in 2009 in Japan on adolescents aged 12 to 16 that made it possible to establish the link between violent, antisocial, neutral or prosocial games and a degree of personal altruism. Helping others, taking care of them, is therefore an intimate part of our personality, of our personal psychology.

But it is also a way to make yourself happy, and therefore to live better, being less stressed and less depressed. This is what researcher Sonia Lyubomirsky, a psychologist at Stanford University (1), was able to verify in 2009 by encouraging half of a group of students to behave selflessly for ten weeks. At the end of this long period of time, those who showed kindness to others not only felt a better mood, but also had better self-esteem.

Benevolence and support for fragility © RomarioIen

Risks of stroke

Not content with doing good for morale, it turns out that kindness is also good for the heart, according to a study published in July 2014 in the journal ofAmerican Heart Association in July 2014 (2). According to this vast study of 6,700 adults between the ages of 45 and 84, followed by 8 to 11, cynicism and aggression are definitely bad for your health, because they promote the risk of stroke. As for stress or the risk of depression, it increases by 86% when we don’t behave well on a daily basis …

Here is my secret. It is very simple: one can only see well with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Is being kind good for your health? Would having a heart be good for the heart? Indeed, it seems that giving is really synonymous with receiving. One more reason for imagining the Day of Kindness, born in Japan in 1997 and started in Singapore twenty years ago. In France, it was in 2009 that Psychologies magazine took up this idea of ​​Kindness Day, which was an instant hit. Kindness, just like happiness, should be contagious!

Banner illustration: kindness is based on sensitivity to others © Dmytro Zinkevych

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