There is a common saying that what you put out into the world will be returned to you tenfold. When it comes to kindness, experts agree that this is incredibly true. It’s been said by psychologists, life coaches, and authors alike that random acts of kindness harness the power to promote compassion, improve your health, and even relationships!
According to Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Waguih William IsHak, kindness is a muscle that should be exercised daily. No matter how big or small the act is, when we are kind to another the chemicals oxytocin and dopamine get released. These happy hormones improve our mood, decrease stress, and lower blood pressure. This can aid in depression and anxiety. We’re all in search of happiness in this life and according to him, “Practicing kindness toward others is one we know works.”
Kindness has the power to transform lives. When you’re kind to someone it has a ripple effect according to research done by the University of California, Los Angeles, University of Cambridge and University of Plymouth. When someone experiences or witnesses a kind act, they in return want to do an altruistic act. According to the study, “When you feel this sense of moral ‘elevation’ not only do you say you want to be a better person and help others,” said Simone Schnall, of Cambridge, the lead researcher. “But you actually do when the opportunity presents itself.” Life can be difficult sometimes, and by making it easier on one another, it spreads love and inspires compassion.
Think about it, we always remember how someone made us feel. There is true power in that. Life coach Julie Leonard says that even the smallest acts can leave a big impact. Her recommendations of implementing kindness into our everyday life are to, “Call a friend, talk to a stranger, write a letter, say thank you, buy someone a gift…” she continues, “The list is endless. Make an effort to do a small act of kindness every day and see how it makes you feel and those around you too.”
These days it is almost hard not to get overwhelmed by the state of the world and we can even feel alone in that pain. However if we look to our community and lend a helping hand, this changes. Volunteering for nonprofits in Los Angeles, such as the Dream Center, truly puts us in a position to experience and witness people come together for a greater cause. Donating clothing, distributing food, or even dedicating time to a local cause impacts the people of your community directly. Having this sense of community makes us feel safer and benefits our wellbeing. It gives us the opportunity to connect with others while also helping them. These acts trigger empathy within us while also easing our anxiety. This change in mindset can transform one’s life radically―and science proves this!
Professor of Psychology and author Dacher Keltner says compassion is a “Strong emotion, attuned to those in need. It is wired into our nervous system and coded in our genes. It is good for your children, your health, and recent study suggests, it is vital for your marriage.” When we feel a sense of community, we find our purpose and belonging. Thus our mindset and relationships improve significantly. The Dalai Lama said it best “If you want to be happy practice compassion, if you want others to be happy, practice compassion.”
The kindness we show ourselves and extend to others is a beautiful infinite cycle of love. It’s contagious. Remember to be kind to yourself and others―it’s good for you!
Interested in spreading kindness? Check out our volunteer opportunities here.