“One kind word can warm three winter months.” Japanese Proverb–
One of my favorite Japanese proverbs goes, “One kind word can warm three winter months.” We know kind words can have a lasting impact. But kind words can do much more—they can affect a person’s entire life without our even knowing it. The proverb should probably go, “One kind word can warm the coldest nights for an entire life”.
Kindness really matters. It is at the heart of what we need to live happier lives and to make the world a better place. Kindness invokes positivity in one person that can spread to others like wildflowers. Philosophically, kindness is like an energy or “angel dust” that can ignite positivity and progress across the entire planet. Scientifically there are physical and mental benefits we gain from small acts of kindness.
5 Physical and Mental Benefits of Kindness
1. Ease Anxiety
Feeling anxious is something we all face from time to time. But chronic anxiety is debilitating and needs to be managed. One way to help reduce anxiety is by providing inspiration and motivation to others through intentional acts of kindness. Next time you are feeling anxious, do something nice for someone and see how your mood changes from worry to happy.
2. Illness Prevention
Inflammation is associated with a variety of chronic health problems including cancer, chronic pain, diabetes, migraines, and obesity and many more health problems. In a recent study comprised of adults between the ages of 57 and 85, volunteering equated to lower inflammation levels due to the release of oxytocin (a social bonding hormone) in the body. When we intentionally do something kind for others, such as volunteering for a charity, we are releasing chemicals that can ease inflammation in our own bodies. The power of kindness is one of the keys to living a happier and healthier life–and a more socially engaged life.
3. Longer Life
People who do not maintain a strong network of relatives and friends have a higher risk of heart disease. Kindness is key to developing and maintaining meaningful close relationships with friends, family, community and colleagues. Feeling connected to people we care about gives us purpose and is an essential ingredient to living a happy, healthy life. Being kind and staying connected helps us live longer.
4. Stress Reduction
Many of us are looking for ways to reduce stress in our fast-paced, hyperconnected, but yet more isolated lives. When we choose to do something kind, we turn off the stressful routines playing in our brains and turn on pro social routines that reduce emotional stress. Choosing kindness adds peace and calm and reduces the stress and inflammation in our bodies that makes us sick. A worthwhile goal in daily our lives is to make kindness virtually second nature in our interactions with others–in other words have kindness become a way of life for us. This will be good for our physical and mental health!
5. Kindness Spreads Wellness
When we give kindness, it spreads. It not only helps us live well with zest, it helps our circle of friends and countless other people live healthier happier lives. Spread kindness like wildflowers to improve your health and help improve lives across the whole planet.
Be Kind and Live Well with Zest!
Written by Bev Hope
Reviewed by Board Certified MD