The Personal Benefits of Being Kind and Generous
For most of my life, I struggled with the being kind and generous. I had grown up in a household where it was a struggle to get my needs met. So my irrational subconscious believed in scarcity, and I felt like I was giving away more than I had to give.
When I realized this, I released my subconscious barriers to kindness and generosity, and found it a lot easier to give and to contribute without feeling depleted or resentful. Friendships became easier, and I felt better about myself!
In the US, we have super rich people that hoard cash at the expense of the poor. And on the other end of the spectrum, as I wrote about in my article, “The Dangers of Putting Yourself Last” , we have caregivers that spend so much effort giving, that they often neglect their own needs.
It turns out science confirms that there are multiple physical and mental health benefits to kindness and generosity, as long as you are not feeling overwhelmed by the experience!
Lets break them down:
Physical effects of kindness:
- Kindness reduces blood pressure:
Kindness increase oxytocin (the nurturing hormone). This in turn expands blood vessels, and reduces blood pressure.
- Kindness slows aging.
Free radicals and inflammation are induced by stress. Oxytocin decreases both in the cardiovascular system, them reducing risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Several studies have showed that elderly who volunteer are healthier, happier and live longer.
- Kindness lowers risk of cardiovascular disease.
Couples were paired up together in a room and observed. Their risk of cardiovascular disease went up with the more hostile interactions they had. The risk also went up for men, when he exhibited dominant behavior. The risk for couples with warm and loving interactions was associated with a lower risk.
- Kindness reduces inflammation:
Practicing the Buddhist loving kindness meditation reduces inflammation.
Mental and personal benefits of kindness:
- Kindness makes us happier:
Being stingy increases activation of the hypothalamic pituitary axis that his is activated with stress. This in turn elevates cortisol levels. In an experiment, researchers saw that people who chose keep more of the money given to them had higher levels of shame and cortisol. Kindness increases opioids and dopamine which cause a “helper’s high”. Scientists conducted an experiment where people were instructed to do 5 kind things per week. They scored higher on tests of happiness.
2. Kindness and altruism reduce stress by reducing cortisol of the caregiver.
3. Kindness makes us feel good about ourselves.
4. It gives us a greater sense of meaning
5. Being kind and helpful distracts us from own problems.
6. It makes us feel more competent and effective
Social Benefits of kindness:
- Being kind and generous improved social integration and relationships, including marriage.
2. Kindness often creates a ripple effect.
Dr. David Hamilton tells a story of how a friend of his saw a young man carrying a giant TV, and he offered to help, and then gave him a ride down the hill to his destination. Upon arriving, the young man offered to pay him, but he refused the money and suggested that he pay it forward. Minutes later, his friend saw the young man carrying the TV back up the hill towards the place that he originally found him. He stopped to inquire as to why. It turns out the guy had stolen the TV, and thanks to his advice to pay it forward, was inspired to return it!
Last year in Seattle, The CEO of Gravity Payments, Dan Price learned that happiness rises with income up to only $75,000 per year. He was also deeply concerned about the financial struggles of the people around him. So he raised the minimum wage of his employees to $70,000 while simultanesouly slashing his own salary to the same minimum to help cover the costs. This week, his employees just gave him a gift of his dream car, a Tesla, which ironically costs $70,000! He’s proven that as a CEO, you can choose to be selfish, or be generous, and have a company that will be there to support you when you need it!
So given all the benefits of kindness and generosity, not only to ourselves but to our relationships, and to even people we don’t know, what is stopping us from being kind or generous?
Like me, you may at one level have a scarcity mindset, or you might have a hard time giving if you feel depleted. Know that your life history can have a huge influence on your ability to be generous or kind. Start with baby steps, and note how they make you feel and the people you interact with feel. Or if you feel too blocked or want to make it easy, check out how I release subconscious barriers with the Body Code, and call me at 1855 ENERJOY to schedule a complimentary consultation.
“Image Of Portrait Of A Happy Senior Man With Grandson” courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net