Everyone is a little more stressed these days, it seems. There are some easy and effective ways to help you feel better, though, while you can also help others. Wednesday, February 17, is Random Acts of Kindness Day. Using random acts of kindness to boost your mood has been scientifically proven! Acts of kindness go a long way toward benefiting yourself and others during these challenging times.
Random Acts of Kindness Day
February 17 has been designated as Random Acts of Kindness Day in 2021. In fact, the entire week from February 14-20 is Random Acts of Kindness Week. It’s the perfect time to start planning how to help others by making kindness the norm in your life. A random act of kindness is simply doing something because it feels like the right thing to do. It could range from holding a door open for a stranger, sending a note of encouragement to a friend, or collecting donations for a local food bank.
Boosting Your Mood and Your Health
When you perform random acts of kindness, it boosts your mood by activatingthe release of a chemical in your brain called dopamine. This is the “feel good” neurotransmitter in your brain that makes you feel good when you do something good. Being motivated by generosity, whether you’re giving time or something more tangible, can benefit you as much as it does those you are helping.
In several studies, researchers found that people who reported helping others were able to boost their own sense of well-being. In fact, a larger number of selfless acts was linked to higher levels of daily positive emotions and better overall mental health in those performing the acts. These individuals’ helping behavior also impacted how they responded to stressors in their lives. When they took the time to help others, it appeared to buffer the negative effects of stress on their well-being.
Using random acts of kindness to boost your mood can be beneficial when you are suffering from depression or chronic stress. You are shifting the focus away from yourself and onto others who need your help. When you do good deeds for others, it can also prevent potential negative feelings about yourself.
Kindness is Contagious
One of the most beneficial aspectsof performing random acts of kindness is that your kindness will inspire others to move forward with kind acts of their own. People who see you do something nice or helpful will also experience the positive effects in their brains and that will inspire them to follow your positive lead. You could create a significant domino effect of people “paying it forward” and improving their moods!
The Benefits of Kindness
Researchhas shown that kindness can produce oxytocin, which aids in lowering your blood pressure and can improve your overall heart health. Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter that also increases your self-esteem and optimism, further explaining how using random acts of kindness to boost your mood can improve your physical and mental health.
Kindness can also give you more energy. In one study, participants said they felt stronger and more energetic after helping others. More significantly, they felt calmer and less depressed and experienced increased feelings of self-worth. As a result, people who perform acts of kindness tend to be happier. Performing an act of kindness also stimulates serotonin in your brain, which can help heal physical and mental wounds, calm you down, and give a sense of happiness.
Kindness can also help decrease pain and stress. Studies have found that people who are kind have 23% less cortisol, which is the stress hormone, and they may even age slower than the average person. When you perform at least six acts of kindness a week, even if you are normally highly anxious, the acts can help you with a significant improvement in your mood and a reduction in social anxiety. You may also find that your relationships with others are improving, not just because you are doing nice things for them but because your acts have boosted your physical and mental health.
Help for Your Addiction and Anxiety Disorder
At Hope by the Sea, a southern California addiction treatment center, we are focused on helping men and women begin the journey of recovery from mood disorders and addiction. We specialize in treating you as a whole individual, so you can embrace your recovery with as much support and momentum as possible. When you need help treating your addiction and anxiety disorder, we offer the dual diagnosis treatment program you need. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services. Hope Starts Here!