World Kindness Day is on Wednesday, November 13. The day encourages people to be kind to one another, but an interesting side effect of kindness could be a longer life span. Columbia University doctor Kelli Harding has been examining kindness and its effects on longevity. She says, “It helps the immune system, blood pressure, it helps people to live longer and better. It’s pretty amazing because there’s an ample supply and you can’t overdose on it.” Moreover, when people see kind acts, they are more likely to replicate it, and kindness can spread. Witnessing acts of kindness produces the hormone oxytocin which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving overall heart health. It can also increase self-esteem and optimism. Furthermore, according to Dr. Christine Carter, “Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease.” Kindness can also release serotonin, which can heal wounds as well as reduce stress and anxiety.
Darnell Hunt, dean of the UCLA social sciences division that is creating an institute that will study the effects of kindness, says that right now, “We are living in a moment of political polarization in the United States and elsewhere, with increased urbanization leading to less direct interactions between people.” He believes that now is a crucial time for the university to discover how to help solve the world’s problems, and it might be as simple as reminding the world to be kind.
Photo Credit: Pixabay