World kindness day… what's in it for you?

Today is World Kindness Day, a day dedicated to the celebration and promotion of kindness in all its forms.

But why should you bother being kind to others? What’s in it for you?

A great deal, as it turns out.

Studies have shown that kindness causes a boost in both mood and the immune system… in both the giver as well as the receiver of the kindness.

In fact, so powerful is our response to kindness that even watching an act of kindness is enough to produce a beneficial boost in immune response and mood.

A study at Harvard University confirmed this by measuring the levels of immune system antibodies present in the saliva of students. They found that even simply watching a video of somebody else getting involved in charity work was enough to create a boost in Immunoglobin A, which is a key part of our immune response.

An article by Christine Carter, Ph. D. published in in the magazine, Psychology Today (18th Feb 2010) confirms: “People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying — and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status, and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.”

So, do yourself a favour by doing someone else one… not just on World Kindness Day… but every day.

It doesn’t even have to be anything major… here are 3 simple kind things you can do which cost you nothing:

  1. Say “thank you”. Show your appreciation to others, even if they are only doing their job.
  2. Smile. It’s contagious!
  3. Pay a genuine compliment.

Are you observing World Kindness Day? Share your ideas for kindnesses below.