Yep, it’s true! Doing good makes EVERYONE feel good!

Random Acts of Kindness help both the recipient and the giver.  Research shows a number of interesting facts about the brain on kindness!

Putting the well-being of others before our own without expecting anything in return — altruism — stimulates the reward centers of the brain, studies show. Those feel-good chemicals flood our system, producing a sort of high. According the NIH, volunteering has been shown to minimize stress and improve depression.  The same activity can also reduce the risk for dementia and even help us live longer.

One reason for this, experts say, is because kindness contributes to our sense of community and belonging. And a sense of community, studies have found, is a key contributor to a healthy, longer life.

Giving donations to others  has been shown to reduce blood pressure and improve heart health. One study asked a group of people with high blood pressure to spend $40 on themselves, while another group of people with high blood pressure were told to spend the money on others.  They found that those who spent money on others had lower blood pressure at the end of the six-week study. In fact, the benefits were as large as those from healthy diet and exercise. 

Giving seems to decrease pain.  A recent study found that people who said they would donate money to help orphans were less sensitive to an electric shock than those who declined to give. In addition, the more helpful people thought their donation would be, the less pain they felt.  This is because the regions of the brain that react to painful stimulation appear to be instantly deactivated by the experience of giving.

In the UK, researchers found that being kind could boost happiness in as little as three days. A study published in the Journal of Social Psychology  assigned people to three groups: the first group had to do an act of kindness each day; the second group tried a new activity; and the third group did nothing. The groups who were kind and did novel things saw a significant boost in happiness. Happiness researchers Sonja Lyubomirsky and Kennon Sheldon say that you’ll experience even greater joy if you’re creative with your acts of kindness. They found that people who did a variety of acts of kindness throughout the week showed greater increases in happiness than those who performed the same activity over and over again. 

And finally, it’s easy!  Acts of kindness can be anonymous or visible, spontaneous or planned, and can be as simple as giving a compliment or opening a door for someone. Here are a few to get you started:

While driving, make room for the car that wants to enter your lane. 

Give a genuine compliment to a family member, friend or colleague. 

Do the same for your boss (or teacher!) — they probably never get compliments!

Be there for a friend having a tough time. Don’t try to fix it; just listen.

Leave your mail carrier a thank you note. 

Overtip your delivery person.

Give someone a genuine smile because  “Your smile is worth a fortune, and yours to spend as you wish.” Lin-Manuel Miranda