• October 25, 2020

GOOD SAMARITAN: Benefits of being kind - Odessa American: Lifestyle

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GOOD SAMARITAN: Benefits of being kind

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Posted: Monday, September 21, 2020 4:30 am

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.”

– Henry James

Have you ever let someone go in front of you in the grocery check-out lane? A small Random Act of Kindness such as this can increase one’s sense of happiness. Kindness promotes empathy and compassion in the giver, leading to a sense, even if momentary, of connecting with another. Feeling connected helps to bind us together instead of dividing us. We live in a perilous time in history where “divisions” are daily chronicled in the news. How different would our society be if we were being kind to one another?

An easy solution to feel better both mentally and physically may be the performance of a simple random act of kindness. Research has shown that one benefit of random acts of kindness are that you feel better about yourself and happier for contributing to someone else’s happiness. Feeling good about yourself can weaken feelings of depression and self-doubt.

People suffering from depression and anxiety cannot help but focus on their own feelings. To think of others not only takes the attention away from how badly a person may be feeling but also may generate the “feel-good” sensations associated with a positive self-image. Kindness can be contagious. If we act in a kind way to someone, it may prompt them to want to be kind to someone else. Just imagine where this could lead—ripples of kindness moving outward.

Some physical and mental health benefits of kindness may be:

Pain — kindness releases endorphins (dopamine, serotonin, and endogenous opioids) in the brain.

Stress — kind people age slower and have lower stress than the average person.

Anxiety and depression — acts of kindness improve mood, depression, and anxiety. Kindness stimulates the production of serotonin which heals wounds, calms nerves, and increases happiness.

Pleasure — elevated levels of dopamine in the brain cause pleasure/reward centers to light up. This is known as the “helper’s high.”

Relationships — kindness helps improve relationships by reducing the distance between individuals.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” ― Plato.

Samaritan Counseling Center provides professional counseling services that can restore hope and healing. For an appointment, call 432-563-4144.

Odessa, TX

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