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All the Ways Kindness Counts

All the Ways Kindness Counts

People around the world are still trying to figure out how to make sense of the rules and regulations guiding the coronavirus pandemic response. Not only are people dealing with a fear of catching a deadly virus, but individuals are also worried about their financial health and job security. People haven’t been able to socialize as normal, and parents are struggling to adapt to playing a lead role in their children’s educations. These days have been stressful, and the world is looking for a positive distraction.

Look for Some Good News

If you’ve been on social media, you may have seen the news program of John Krasinski titled “Some Good News” or SGN for short. In the different segments of the program, Krasinski has been highlighting areas around the globe where acts of kindness are helping people cope with the strange world around them. Viewers find their hearts warmed by the random generosity of strangers toward their fellow man. The golden rule- treating others as you want to be treated- not only helps others move past disappointment, loneliness, hopelessness, and sadness, but it also has amazing health benefits for those who practice being kind. The empathy and kindness you spread to others improves your personal relationships and creates a world that is more pleasant to live in.

Release the Feel-good Hormones

You know that happy feeling when you do something nice for someone else? This is a physical response from the pleasure center in your brain. When you practice acts of kindness, your body increases the level of serotonin in your body. This is a neurotransmitter that creates a feeling of well-being and satisfaction. Your body also releases endorphins, which have been casually referred to as a “helper’s high.”

Reduce Your Anxiety

People who are facing hard or troubling times often experience increased anxiety, ranging from severe panic or a mild nervousness. Physical activities to reduce anxiety include meditation, yoga, or exercise, and there are medications that can also reduce anxiety. However, you can also try being nice to others to make a change. An individual’s experiences with positive moods (interest, joy, alertness) are greatly increased the longer an individual engages in kind acts. In turn, this brings down levels of social anxiety for both the giver and receiver of the transaction.  A smile, wave, or volunteering at an organization can make a big difference in your life and someone else’s.

Warm Your Heart

Once again, that warm, fuzzy feeling you get from being kind to someone else is a physical response. The chemical balance of your heart is affected, releasing more of the hormone oxytocin. When this occurs, the blood vessels dilate and reduce your overall blood pressure. Because of this function, oxytocin is considered a cardioprotective hormone. For this reason, kindness is able to strengthen and warm your heart physically and emotionally.

Live Longer

For those looking for an anti-aging protocol that is easy to follow, try including random acts of kindness in your daily routine. There have been several studies that show an increased risk of heart disease, and heart disease is the number one killer of men and women around the country. When you take pleasure in your life, you also tend to be more proactive in taking care of your health. Your eating habits improve, and you spend more time pursuing social interaction or pleasurable activities. Each of these areas will have a positive impact on your life, with the end result increasing your longevity.

Reduce Your Stress

Tough times can increase your stress level, which generally something to be concerned about on a good day. Busy lifestyles often keep people from taking care of themself and prioritizing their mental health. Whenever hardship or adverse conditions enter your life, such as a lost job or family member passes away, your stress levels can get out of hand. Many people will try different things to bring their stress down, but one easy adjustment to make is the way you treat others. As research indicates, engaging in actions are designed to help others is an important component for dealing with stress. Taking a break from your own problems to focus on someone else’s can give you a new perspective on life. This can equip you to better resolve your own stressful circumstances. Working with others has a positive effect on your stress management strategy, which can also improve your emotional functioning.


The world has been through an ordeal these past few weeks, and there is no denying that times are tough. Reaching out to help a neighbor or sharing a smile with a stranger at the grocery store can make all the difference in the world to your health and well-being. Don’t ever underestimate how much kindness counts.


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About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

6 min read