13 November marks World Kindness Day. Observed since 1998 to highlight good deeds within a society in many countries, including Canada, Japan, Australia, Nigeria and United Arab Emirates, it is the perfect day to read about how one of the easiest ways to feel better about all the stress in your life has been hiding in plain sight: You just have to be kind.
No one goes through life trying to be a horrible person. But sometimes, it’s a challenge to go that extra mile (or even just a few steps) out of your way to be nice and help other people. The good news is that you don’t even have to perform any gigantic acts of selflessness to get the benefits from helping others. Ahead, we cover three science-backed benefits you’ll get from helping out your fellow humans.
Several studies have now shown an association between acts of kindness and markers of heart health. (Shutterstock)
You’ll turn down the effects of stress
A 2015 study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science surveyed 77 people about the small acts of kindness they did for other people — holding doors open, giving directions, etc. — and the stresses they dealt with in their own lives. Results showed that on days when participants felt especially stressed, they understandably had more negative feelings about their lives. But if they also helped others out on those stressful days, they didn’t report those negative feelings.
Your heart will work better
Being nice can improve your physical health, too. Several studies have now shown an association between acts of kindness and markers of heart health. For instance, a 2006 study published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology found that those who provide support to their social networks have better self-esteem, less depression, and even better blood pressure.
You’ll feel better about your life
Making others happy is also associated with your own happiness. In a series of experiments, researchers at Harvard Business School found that spending money on others in particular can make us feel better, too. For instance, in one experiment, participants were asked to buy a gift for themselves, someone else, or charity. Results showed that those who spent their money on others — regardless of the amount they were spending — rated their levels of happiness higher than those who bought stuff for themselves.
First Published: Nov 13, 2018 15:35 IST