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We love to be treated kindly!
We always feel good when someone reaches out to us in a kind and respectful way and helps us feel valuable and worthwhile. Kindness can be easily demonstrated when we reach out to serve others. Research is demonstrating that kinder people live longer, healthier lives. In fact the researchers found that people who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains and that giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease.
Dr Christine Carter in the US has researched the impact of volunteering and its relationship to kindness.
She found that people fifty-five and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44 percent lower likelihood of dying—and that's after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status, and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church; it means that volunteering is nearly as beneficial to our health as quitting smoking!
About half of the participants in one study reported that they feel stronger and more energetic after helping others; many also reported feeling calmer and less depressed and had increased feelings of self-worth. This is probably a literal "high," similar to a drug-induced high: for example, the act of making a financial donation triggers the reward center in our brains that is responsible for dopamine-mediated euphoria.
Volunteer work substantially reduces symptoms of depression.
Both helping others and receiving help is associated with lowered anxiety and depression. This may be especially true for kids. In fact adolescents who identify their primary motive as helping others are three times happier than those who lack such altruistic motivation. Similarly, teens who are giving are also happier and more active, involved, excited, and engaged than their less engaged counterparts.
Generous behavior reduces adolescent depression and suicide risk, and several studies have shown that teenagers who volunteer are less likely to fail a subject in school, get pregnant, or abuse substances. Teens who volunteer also tend to be more socially competent and have higher self-esteem.
Experiments have actually demonstrated again and again that kindness toward others actually causes us to be happier, improves our health, and lengthens our lives. So why not commit to doing all you kind to show kindness to someone today? Sign-up with some volunteer organization in your community and make a difference to someone else’s life, and see what happens to yours!
“To me, success is not something to be measured in power or fortune or fame. I believe a life of service to others is a successful life.” (Gerald Ford)