Acts of kindness are proven to be good for your health which is why we chose this for week 13 of #HealthyHabits2017. Because by doing them you and the people around you will receive lots of Oxytocin which will make you feel all happy and promote trust and love, even if you don’t really know the person. Oxytocin also reduces the impact of cortisol on the body and is generally just a really great hormone to have running through your body. We wrote a bit about it in our blog post Make You Happy before and here’s what we had to say:
It also comes through acts of kindness and generosity. Sacrificing something so that others may be better off and not expecting anything in return - usually time or energy (giving money doesn’t feel good because we put a premium on time). When you perform an act of kindness not only do you feel the oxytocin, but the person on the receiving end feels it too, as well as people who are around to witness the act of kindness (even if they’re not participating). One of the amazing things about oxytocin is that the more you have running through your veins the more generous you become. The more you do, the more you want to do. It increases problem solving and creativity while also inhibiting addiction (think back to dopamine) and boosts your immune system so there are real physical health benefits from acts of generosity. It’s why happy people and couples live longer which is really amazing.
You can find Acts of Kindness suggestions all over the internet. I decided to do 7 different kinds.
1. An act of kindness for a friend.
2. An act of kindness for a family member.
3. An act of kindness for a stranger.
4. An act of kindness for myself.
5. An act of kindness for the planet.
6. An act of kindness for my community.
7. An act of kindness for a charity.
HOW DID IT GO - WERE THERE ANY PROBLEMS?
It’s gone really well, it’s been a little hard to remember time wise, like many of these healthy habits. But the great thing about an act of kindness is that it can take no more than a few seconds.
For the act of kindness for a friend I helped a close friend with an application to a course on women in leadership which is a subject that is quite close to my heart. I feel she would really benefit from getting on the course so I spent a few hours helping her edit her application before she sent it off. Fingers crossed she gets in!
For the act of kindness for a family member I took my mum to the Finnish Embassy in London so she could renew her passport. She would have been able to go by herself but I know she feels a little bit unsure around London so I took the day off and took her there and we had a lovely day together.
The act of kindness for a stranger took the form of two things - giving someone some money outside of the tube station - I never have cash on me and for once I did. I’m also looking for someone to come and work with me one day a week and I’ve made sure to pay everyone the courtesy of a thoughtful response regardless of the outcome because I remember waiting to hear back from a job application was one of the worst feelings.
As an act of kindness to myself I’ve booked myself onto a fitness course for June. My body is a bit out of shape thanks to a few years of prioritising work over my health (not good) and while it’s a lot better than where it was a year ago - partly thanks to these HealthyHabits I’ve still got a ways to go and I think this’ll help kick start some exercise love.
As an act of kindness to the planet we saved two little saplings from being dug up around a construction site near our place, they’re currently happily sitting in two pots on our balcony.
An act of kindness to the community was donating some clothes. I’ve been trying to declutter in our flat as there’s too much stuff that just doesn’t get used. I found some clothes in the wardrobe that I won’t wear or don’t feel comfortable in - they’re still good to go though, and decided to donate them.
Last but not least I sponsored a friends London to Brighton bike ride in aid of the British Heart Foundation. I wish him lots of luck .
I have also decided to donate some of my hair to the Little Princess trust next time I cut my hair, as it’s rather long at the moment and it could certainly go towards helping a child who needs it.
Acts of kindness feel good to do and they don’t take too long to complete. I’m excited to carry on this healthy habit when I recognise an opportunity to to do so.
Next week is no alcohol week. Find out how it went next Monday!
Image by Merve Ozaslan