5 Beneficial Side Effects of Kindness
02 Jun 2011 | Huffington Post
When we think of side effects, the first thing that springs to
mind are the side effects of drugs. But who'd have thought that
kindness could have side effects, too?
Well, it does! And positive ones at that.
Of course, we should never do an act of kindness to gain from
it. We should always be kind because it's the right thing to do.
But when we are kind, the following are some side effects that come
1) Kindness makes us happier.
When we do something kind for someone else, we feel good. On a
spiritual level, many people feel that this is because it is the
right thing to do and so we're tapping into something deep and
profound inside us that says, "This is who I am."
On a biochemical level, it is believed that the good feeling we
get is due to elevated levels of the brain's natural versions of
morphine and heroin, which we know as endogenous opioids. They
cause elevated levels of dopamine in the brain, so we get
a natural high, often referred to as "Helper's High."
2) Kindness gives us healthier hearts.
Acts of kindness are often accompanied by emotional warmth.
Emotional warmth produces the hormone oxytocin in the
brain and throughout the body. Of much recent interest is its
significant role in the cardiovascular system.
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 "cardio-protective" hormone because it protects the
heart (by lowering blood pressure). The key is that acts kindness
can produce oxytocin, and therefore kindness can be said to be
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