Why giv­ing is good for you

Give a lit­tle kind­ness this Christ­mas and you’ll re­ceive all sorts of sur­pris­ing health ben­e­fits in re­turn

YOURS (UK) - - Contents - By Re­becca Speech­ley

The sea­son of good­will is upon us, giv­ing us all the per­fect ex­cuse to show oth­ers a bit of ex­tra kind­ness. When you do some­thing for some­one else, you get a lot more back than just a warm feel­ing. In fact, re­search shows that a lit­tle kind­ness and gen­eros­ity could give you a huge psy­cho­log­i­cal boost, mak­ing you hap­pier and health­ier than folk who are less gen­er­ous.

“When we’re kind, there is a chem­i­cal ‘pay-off’ – we get bursts of the anx­i­ety-re­duc­ing neu­ro­chem­i­cal oxy­tocin,” says stress trans­for­ma­tion coach Jane Evans (www. the­ja­nee­vans.com). “This chem­i­cal makes us feel good and re­laxed. As an added bonus we also get a dose of dopamine, the plea­sure-seek­ing hor­mone which re­wards us with a sense of well­be­ing.”

Christ­mas is the ideal time to be kind, be­cause so many of us feel stressed and over­whelmed by the ex­tra pres­sure and com­mit­ments. “If you’re feel­ing anx­ious, then an act of kind­ness, such as hold­ing a door open, help­ing some­one get their buggy off the train or just smil­ing, can con­nect us to oth­ers,” says Jane.

“This takes us out of fight or flight mode, so we feel safer and more re­laxed. Our heart rate set­tles, we breathe more eas­ily, our mus­cles re­lax and we get a sense that life is good.”

Your kind­ness will help to ease the stresses of the other per­son too, giv­ing them the same ben­e­fits. It’s not just your mood and men­tal health that will be im­proved. “There has also been re­search to show that kind­ness can have a pos­i­tive ef­fect on our phys­i­cal health as well,” says Jaime Thurston au­thor of Kind­ness: The

Lit­tle Thing that Mat­ters

Most (£6.96, Harper Thor­sons). “Gen­eros­ity of spirit helps to slow the age­ing process and is good for our hearts.” Oxy­tocin helps re­duce blood pres­sure, so keeps your heart healthy.”

‘Just let­ting peo­ple know you are think­ing of them can make all the dif­fer­ence’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.