The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention
- Oscar Wilde
Kindness is also good for anyone watching. Ever had those warm fuzzies or tingles going down your back when you witnessed an act of kindness? Researchers call it 'moral elevation' and it's one reason why kindness is contagious. We see good things happen and we want to make them happen again. At work, studies reveal that when leaders are seen to be self-sacrificing, their employees experience being moved and inspired. This in turn made people feel more loyalty towards their organisation, and more likely to go out of their way to help fellow co-workers.
Combating depression. If you give and help others, it's good for your mental health
When we’re kind, we're showing someone that they mean something to us. Even if we don't know them, we’re saying: "You matter. Your life matters" and this brings us closer together. In fact, many studies have shown a connection between kindness, altruism, and volunteering and less depression.
Since depression, anxiety and stress involve a high degree of focus on the self, focussing on the needs of others literally helps shift our thinking.
Having a positive effect on someone else can increase our self-esteem and give our life a greater sense of purpose.
- Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky, University of California
Combating cardio-vascular disease (CVD). If you work from the heart, it's good for your heart
Kindness and compassionate behaviour has been shown to have cool physical health benefits. We can prevent ourselves from getting sick and developing heart disease by doing kind things and being compassionate. Dr David Hamilton chats in the below vid how kindness makes us happy, and benefits the heart, through the effects of the hormone oxytocin:
To sum up, oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide in blood vessels, which dilates (expands) the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and therefore oxytocin is known as a ‘cardioprotective’ hormone because it protects the heart (by lowering blood pressure). The key is that acts of kindness can produce oxytocin and therefore kindness can be said to be cardioprotective.
As social entrepreneurs passionate about combating wicked world problems like heart disease and depression, we get very excited by all the research linking happiness, wellbeing and hearts!
Having some on-hand, practical ways we can build more kindness and compassion into our days makes us more likely to do them - so we've teamed up with Australia's Kindness Crew to help promote their awesome "Work Kindness Advent Calendar"
Taking the time to make a difference could transform your health, your whole world and the world of others. We hope you'll be inspired to give these kind and compassionate acts a crack! Please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like a PDF copy to stick up and share around your workplace community - we'll fire one out to you pronto.
We'd love to hear and share your #kindnesscalendar stories!