Ever wondered why it feels good to show kindness? Or why you get that elated feeling after having done a good deed?
It’s more than just the fact that we’ve helped someone.
Science actually tells us that acts of kindness benefit both the receiver and the giver – here’s how!
Emotions are… catchy
Smiles are catchy, right? Just like laughing is too. And when someone is feeling down, it’s quite normal for us to ‘catch’ or empathise with these negative feelings.
Scientists suggest that when we witness an emotion, it activates the same parts of the brain as if we were experiencing the emotion ourselves.
So if we notice someone feeling sad, merely seeing this emotion (especially if it’s displayed by someone we’re close with) can evoke feelings of sadness.
Doing something kind to make them feel better can in turn make us feel better, as we replicate the emotions we witness.
The feel-good hormones
Sometimes it just feels good to do good, even if a kind act isn’t for a specific individual or for someone who is visibly sad or upset.
Studies show that when we do a good deed, this action releases serotonin in the body (a chemical which regulates our mood and reduces feelings of anxiety and depression, among many other important things!).
Acts of kindness also release the hormone oxytocin, which reduces blood pressure. This is not only great for the heart, but can help reduce stress too!
How we think of ourselves is important
If we think of ourselves as a kind and caring person, acts of kindness help to validate these thoughts and confirm that we really are kind and caring.
Just like if you believe you’re good at maths, receiving an A+ in a test validates your perception of yourself.
When we can align our actions with our thoughts and values, this makes us feel good, because we are being true to ourselves.
Humans are relational beings
Connection, and feeling connected, is an important part of humanity. Humans are social – we have a desire to connect with others. And acts of kindness can help people to connect.
Connection can be as simple as sharing a smile with a stranger, or making new friendships or strengthening the friendships we already hold.
A random act of kindness, volunteering, or doing something for a friend or family member are all opportunities to connect and to strengthen connections.
It feels good to connect with others!
Random acts of kindness for Feel Good Feb
Feel Good Feb runs for the entire month of February, and is dedicated to promoting random acts of kindness.
There are so many small yet powerful ways of spreading kindness and positivity, and hence so many opportunities to feel good!
Try boosting your serotonin levels this month with these 10 random acts of kindness:
- Compliment a stranger
- Write a positive comment on a social media post
- Smile at someone
- Leave a positive review online for a small business
- Ask someone how they are - perhaps someone you wouldn't usually speak to!
- Leave a thank you note
- Donate to a charity or give to someone in need
- Send flowers to someone who could do with a cheer up
- Pay for a stranger’s coffee or takeaway meal (e.g. in a drive through!)
- Let someone know that you appreciate them, their work or their service.
Liz Gellel | Communications Coordinator