Can Being Kind to Others Help You Heal?

What studies are showing about the surprising health benefits from acts of kindness.

Posted in , Oct 5, 2021

An act of kindness

Who said kindness is the answer to almost any question? Actually, a lot of people. The poet Khalil Gibran said, “kindness is like the snow, it beautifies everything it covers.” The writer Isaac Bashevis Singer said, “Kindness, I’ve discovered, is everything in life.” And the singer Lady Gaga is quoted as saying, “I’ve been searching for ways to heal myself, and I’ve found that kindness is the best way.”

Decades of social science research supports Lady Gaga’s statement. A 2020 review of 126 research studies involving nearly 200,000 participants from around the world confirm what many of us know in our hearts—kindness is good for our mental and physical health. Among the findings in this mountain of research are that people who regularly practice informal acts of kindness, like saying good morning to a stranger or bringing a meal to a grieving friend, report higher levels of self-esteem and social connection as well as lower levels of stress and its physical manifestations. When we speak or behave kindly to someone, we actually remind ourselves that no matter what challenges we may have in our own lives, we still have the ability to make a positive contribution to the world we live in.

What kindnesses have you done today? I bet there are many you can identify if you think about it for just a moment. And remember, in the famous words of Aesop, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

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