Kindness is a powerful force that can have a profound impact on our mental health. When we are kind to others, we not only make them feel good, but we also improve our own mental well-being.
One of the main ways that kindness can benefit our mental health is by reducing stress. Stress is a major contributor to mental health problems, and it can be caused by a variety of factors, including work, relationships, and financial issues.
According to a review published by Dr Fryburg in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, when we are kind to others, we reduce our own stress levels by taking our focus off our own problems and putting it on helping others. Our levels of the stress hormone cortisol physically decrease, and this can be a powerful antidote to the negative effects of stress.
Another way that kindness can benefit our mental health is by increasing our sense of connection and belonging. When we are kind to others, we build stronger relationships with them, and this can help us feel more connected to the world around us. Research shows that when an act of kindness increases our levels of oxytocin, the “love hormone” in our bodies. This sense of connection and belonging is important for our mental well-being, as it can help us feel less isolated and lonely.
Kindness can also help us build resilience, which is the ability to bounce back from difficult situations. When we are kind to others, we can help them through difficult times, and this can also help us to become more resilient. This is because when we help others, we feel more capable and empowered, which can help us to better cope with our own challenges.
Kindness improves our mood and boosts our self-esteem on a daily basis by making us feel good about ourselves and our actions. Kindness can daily basis also make us feel more compassionate and understanding, which can help us to better understand and cope with the struggles of others.
In conclusion, kindness is important for our mental health because it can help us to reduce stress, increase our sense of connection and belonging, and build resilience, which helps to combat mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. It is a simple but powerful tool that we can all use to improve our own mental well-being and that of those around us. So, let’s make a conscious effort to be kind to others and watch how it positively impacts our mental health.
Sood, A., Sharma, V., & Schroeder, D. R. (2022). Kindness as a stress reduction–health promotion intervention: A review of the psychobiology of caring. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 16(1), 89–100.
Healthy Aging Center. (2022, May 31). How to rewire your brain. Colorado State University
Kelm, Z., & Womer, F. (2016). Compassion and the science of kindness. British Journal of General Practice, 66(648), e525-e527.
Karen Anne Hope Andrews is a Clinical Psychologist at the MapleTree Psychotherapy Center LLC. Karen provides psychotherapy and coaching to adults and teens (17+) experiencing a wide range if difficulties.