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The science behind kindness

Community Services #1 launched our Kindness Matters project on Sunday 10 May, to spread community connection and kindness within the community.

Not only does it feel good to do something kind, but it is actually good for you. There is a lot of research that shows the physiological effects of kindness including decreasing stress levels, reducing anxiety and depression and increased energy levels.

But research from Dartmouth University shows that kindness actually makes you live longer:

“People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organisations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church” said Christine Carter, Author of ‘Raising Happiness; In Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents’.

Kindness also increases the love hormone, your energy levels, pleasure (by producing a helper’s ‘high’) and the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a feel good chemical that heals wounds, calms you down and makes you happy!

While kindness increases your lifespan, it also lowers blood pressure which protects your heart by producing a cardioprotective hormone, oxytocin. Being kind also decreases pain by producing endorphins (the brain’s natural painkiller), reduces stress levels which in turn makes you age slower and reduces anxiety and depression.

True kindness starts with being kind to yourself. In a pressure filled society, it’s easy to not look after yourself properly. But it is much easier to treat other people better when we’ve taken care of ourselves.

Remember that kindness is lasting. Something kind that you do now will have a lasting effect on someone for many years to come.

Remember that #kindnessmatters.

Each week we will be sharing a suggested random act of kindness via our social channels (@cs1canberra or facebook.com/CS1Canberra) and encourage participants to share their deeds with us via the hashtag #kindnessmatters.

To receive the weekly challenge in your inbox, subscribe here: https://communityservices1.org/kindnessmatters

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