April 10, 2019 7 min read

Kindness. It’s one of those gestures that you give around to other people without waiting or asking for anything in return. Yet unknown to many, the little gestures that we do to give a little bit of sunshine to other people actually benefits us. Let’s take a look at kindness and why giving something back to the rest of the world is actually one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Acts Of Kindness

Being kind doesn’t take much effort. Holding the door open for a lady whose hands are full with groceries, helping a child reach a box of cookies in the grocery, mowing the lawn for your elderly neighbor - these are just some of the things that you can do that can make someone’s day a little brighter and a little bit better. The times when you step out and thoughtlessly do something that benefits others without thinking of what you’ll get in return help make this world a better place.

Kindness is reaching out to people whether they ask for it or not. It’s wanting to help out just because you know it won’t cost you to lift a finger and make someone’s day more sunny. In a world where everyone is speeding from one place to another, harried in their goals and schedules, stopping to take a quick breath only to run and sprint towards the next finish line again, small acts of kindness are more than welcome. It can even sometimes mean the difference between making a person’s day or not. Think back on that one day when you felt quite down in the dumps, like nothing was ever happening the way you wanted to, and then a random person smiled at you and wished you a good day. Doesn’t that make your mood a little better? It did right? Kindness is one of those things that you can give to others with no extra charge yet can have an incredible ripple effect to those who were touched by it.

Altruism helps foster many things in individuals and in societies

But the act of kindness in and of itself is actually beneficial not just to the recipient but to the person who did the act. It’s an invisible magnet of good karma if you will, and people should go around being kinder to each other because not only does altruism make everyone a little more chipper, it also makes gives back to the ones who give them out so wholeheartedly and selflessly.

The Benefits Of Kindness

Even without asking for anything in return, people who do acts of kindness towards others are blessed with things that are beyond what we can see. These are the things that we don’t actually see like receiving a gift or a pie dish in return for helping someone out. It’s the world’s personal way of giving thanks to people who strive to make things better and easier for the people around them. It’s a kind of good karma and no one ever feels like an extra dose of those is a bad deal.

Decreased Levels Of Anxiety- doing an act of kindness, especially when you’re not particularly feeling so peachy, can actually help you manage your anxiety. There is this thing calledpositive affect, also known as PA, which is a factor for people’s feelings of anxiety, particularly in crowds. It helps determine a person’s level of anxiety and people with low PAs are more than likely to experience some form of anxiety or panic. Doing a simple act of kindness such as picking up a toy that a baby dropped or smiling at a passing stranger and seeing their positive reaction to your own act of kindness can increase your PA and help decrease your levels of anxiety almost instantaneously.

Kindness can help decrease feelings of anxiousness

Showing kindness to others can help build your self-esteem

Being kind to others helps you to become kinder to yourself

It Can Help You Feel More Confident- an act of kindness is often seen as an act done solely for the benefit of other people without asking or needing anything else in return. But have you ever noticed how being kind actually made you feel more confident and helped you stand a little straighter? This is evident even in preadolescent children, as can be seen in thisstudy, that doing an act of kindness boosts self-esteem. How? Because when you do something kind for others whether they expect it or not gives them an opportunity to say something kind to you in return. A warm smile with a “thank you” or a quick squeeze from your mom whom you just helped in carrying that gigantic pile of laundry, can help make you feel great about yourself and this feeling carries over to the next things that you do.

It Fosters Growth and Self-Improvement- kindness is a two way street it seems. Being kind to others also makes you want to be kinder to yourself. Astudy conducted on attendees of Alcoholics Anonymous who help out other alcoholics in their bid for recovery actually have a greater rate of self-recovery and sobriety themselves. Even cancer patients who attend support groups feel more empowered to take on their battle with renewed strength as a way of boosting the morale of other members of the group. Kindness enables people to work against the tide and see the better things in life, reducing negative thoughts and providing a healthier coping mechanism for events which are beyond their control. Altruistic behavior provides people with an avenue to reach out and lend their own strength where it is needed and in turn, receiving the same kind of strength to face their own problems and shortcomings head on.

Stronger Bonds Mean Longer Life- “no man is an island” is as cliche as a saying can get but in reality, it is true that a solitary life - one that has not fostered good relations with other people - isn’t exactly going to help you live longer. It is said that loneliness can make the heart weaker because the body has higher levels of stress hormones due to the fact that it feels the need to be more on guard with its surroundings given that there is no one else to look out for them. Stress weakens the heart because it raises the triglycerides which can lead to blocked arteries. By being kind to other people such as family and friends helps foster stronger ties and enables you to build a support system that can help you out even during the toughest of times and it also helps you reduce your stress and therefore, helps you protect your heart.

It’s Good For Your Heart- yes, doing an act of kindness can make you feel fuzzy and warm inside. Some people actually swear that they can feel their heart smiling whenever they do something good for other people. In reality, the heart does benefit from your random acts of kindness. In a TED talk byDr. David Hamilton, he shared that doing acts of kindness help release oxytocin hormones into our bodies. Oxytocin is the hormone that triggers the release of nitric oxide into our blood vessels which helps them dilate making it easier for blood to flow through them. This causes a significant decrease in blood pressure which is great news for people who wish to make their hearts healthier and can help them avoid a plethora of heart-related diseases. So that warm, fuzzy feeling you get after helping someone out is actually your body letting you know that you did a great job and that you deserve a health boost.

Being kind helps you make strong bonds that can actually affect the quality of life that you live

The high you get out of helping others actually increases blood flow and helps make your heart stronger

Doing something kind actually helps boost your immune system

Strengthens The Immune System- When you do something good for others, it releases oxytocin, endorphin, and serotonin which are all hormones which help the body thrive and become stronger.Oxytocin has anti-inflammatory effects on the body and is helpful in keeping a healthy memory,endorphin is the body’s natural painkiller and helps boost physical performance, lowers blood pressure, and helps in fat reduction, whileserotonin is responsible for balancing our mood and helps in the regulation of our appetite, sleep patterns, and memory. Doing altruistic acts actually helps your body boost its immune system and helps you feel great overall.

Choosing Kindness

Kindness is an act as free as breathing air. It’s something you can give wholeheartedly without costing you anything. It makes everyone feel great and it causes a ripple effect that can touch many lives and create memories and bonds that can help make our world a much better place.

At Lark Ellen Farm, we encourage people to be kind to each other. Each week, we recognize someone for doing an act of kindness towards others and who has positively impacted their community. Simply tag us by using the hashtag #LEFloves on Instagram and share with us a story about the person whom you think has had such a great impact in making others feel better. You can also submit your nominations through ourwebsite where you can also see inspiring stories about people who have touched other people’s lives with their kindness. Each person who is nominated becomes eligible to receive goodies from Lark Ellen Farm as our way of showing gratitude for what they have done to make other people’s lives richer. So go out there, share the love and be kind.