Why it is worth
For a couple of years now I have been following Dr David Hamilton who is big in research on how people can harness their mind and emotions to improve their health. He wrote several books on how positive emotions can produce numerous beneficial effects in the body, mind, and spirit. In Chinese Medicine, the impact of emotions as a causative factor for health or disease have been established as early as in the Huang di Nei Jing. I love David’s work on describing these relationships through modern science. Could kindness be the best answer to counter stress? Let’s look at some of the key effects.
1. Feeling kindness supports immunity
Being kind to others not only makes you feel good, it has also immune-boosting effects on your body. Take a second and imagine how it feels when you are doing something kind for someone else. It is mind-blowing that research has shown that merely ‘watching’ kindness has an effect on your immune system by boosting certain antibodies known as immunoglobulin A. In short, spreading kindness in person – or in social media – can uplift you, others and your immune system.
2. Showing compassion reduces inflammation
Compassion which is very close to the feeling of kindness has shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, as it stimulates the vagus nerve, also nicknamed the ‘caretaking nerve’. This part of the nervous systems also helps control inflammation levels in the body.
3. Being kind supports your mental health
Being kind has a happiness-boosting effect. Brain imaging has shown that expression of kindness lead to physical changes in the left side of prefrontal cortex, which is associated with positive feelings. Practising kindness and compassion is like training a muscle, making the area grow.
Do you want to read more about this topic? David has published many free talks, books and seminars around the impact of emotions on health.
Hamilton, D. (2017). The five side effects of kindness: This book will make you feel better, be happier & live longer. London, England: Hay House UK.