Helping people feels good. There is plenty of research to suggest that acts of kindness like donating money, volunteering, and mentoring can boost emotional health.
But it may also help improve physical health.
Being kind can take all kinds of forms. It could be as simple as holding a door for somebody, helping them load their groceries, or donating blood, money, or time. Kindness promotes social connection, which is even more critical during the pandemic.
Helping out and being kind can help strengthen relationships, make you feel involved, introduce you to new friends, and feel good about yourself.
Even just thinking about being nice can make you feel good about yourself. One study found that when participants recalled hugging a grandparent or buying a meal for a co-worker, their well-being improved as much as it did when they actually did it.
Other studies have shown that acts of kindness can release feel-good hormones, like oxytocin, that can promote mental wellness. It can also help to boost immunity, act as an anti-inflammatory, and relieve stress.
Some studies are showing how it can help physical health. One study, for example, noted that spending money on others improved the cardiovascular health of older adults with high blood pressure.
Other work found that implementing small acts of kindness may positively impact gene expressions, which may aid in health and promote youthfulness.
In any event, doing good for someone else will do good for you, too.
There are several things you can surely do in your community – or even in your peer group – to help out. However, looking outside of your current circle might be best.
Volunteering time with a community group, raising funds, donating, or anything you can think of that allows you to help others is a great way to feel and live better.