The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)
Kindness benefits everyone
“You cannot do kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” — The 14th Dalai Lama.
“Sometimes it takes only one act of kindness and caring to change a person’s life.” — Jackie Chan
All sorts of folks know kindness has amazing powers. One of those powers, as Jackie Chan said, is the ability to change a person’s life. Well, it turns out, according to researchers at Ohio State, it’s not just the recipient’s life that’s changed, the life of the person who’s being kind is changed, too.
When psychologists studied 122 people who had moderate to severe symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress, they discovered that performing acts of kindness — from giving someone a ride to leaving sticky notes for roommates with words of encouragement — was an effective way to combat emotional distress. In fact, doing such gestures three times a day for two days was better therapy than going through two forms of cognitive behavioral therapy that are often used to battle the blues.
The act of kindness forges a sense of connectedness and that’s one of the keys to alleviating depression and other psychological stresses. It also boosts serotonin and dopamine levels — brain neurotransmitters that increase feelings of wellbeing.
So, if you’re feeling down or a bit wound up, make a list of acts of kindness you will do today ... and in days to come. You’ll make the world a kinder place — and you’ll feel happier.
Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is “The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow.” Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email questions@ GreatAgeReboot.com.