Not only did I spend many years battling depression, I also battled a lot of awful side effects from the medication. These side effects were horrible and often made me feel worse. I have been medication-free for years now and I now only seek things with positive side effects on my continuous journey of health and happiness. One of these is kindness. Huh, who would have thought that a simple act of being nice could make me happier than any pill ever could? Science backs this too. I wish my doctors would have encouraged this.
Here are some cool scientific things that happen when you help someone:
1. You get “Helper’s High”. That’s right, when you do someone nice for someone you release dopamine in the brain and get a natural high. What’s great is you can make this high last longer as you spread the good news. I remember when I paid for someone’s coffee one day and posted it on Facebook. The response I got was awesome and people were spreading the goodness. Throughout the day, I felt great. It fueled me all day long.
2. We feel connected and bonded. When we help people we release oxytocin in the brain. This is our bonding chemical. It brings us closer to others and has other amazing physiological side effects like reducing blood pressure, stress, and fear.
3. Keeps us young and healthy. Scientific studies are showing that compassion and kindness may be linked to reducing inflammation in the body as well as helping to fight free radicals. These are two things that speed up aging and make us feel awful.
Being kind is really simple. There are so many ways to open your heart.
Let me share some acts of kindness ideas with you:
A friend of mine is spending the 40 days of Lenten season doing a random good deed everyday with her kids. It’s been absolutely incredible to follow on Facebook. She and her littles are bringing smiles everywhere and causing a ripple effect of kindness. Everyday I look forward to her posts to see what they did. Here are her kids drawing pictures and love notes for the kids in the Haitian orphanage.
Here they dropped off hats, scarfs, and blankets for the homeless at the train station.
Check out all their good deeds on her blog and follow their progress. I highly recommend Jenn’s blog, she is absolutely hysterical and has one the kindness and biggest hearts I know. I can’t wait to do something similar and neither could some of her followers. Some have been sharing their good deeds one her page. Here a family made Sunday’s “Good Deed Day”:
Don’t have 40 days? Guess what, you can do simple acts every day right from your phone.
Here are some awesome ways you can use technology to spread some love:
Be Someone’s Eyes
Download the app Be My Eyes and help a blind person in need. By connecting through the video camera, you can assist a blind user who may need help navigating new surroundings or reading something. It’s free, simple, and requires no training. You can choose to accept a help request anytime. You never have to feel guilty about not taking a call because as a helper you are part of a big network of real people lending their eyes.
Give Someone Roadside Assistance
If you are a AAA member, you can help someone who may be having car trouble. As long as you are with the person having car problems, AAA will serve any car or person. So the next time you see someone broken down on the side of the road, you can pull over and lend a “free” hand if you are a AAA member.
Get Some Kindness Prompts
Being kind is simple. It doesn’t take much these days to bring a smile to someone’s face. You don’t need apps or creative ideas. You can simply just be more loving and kind throughout your day.
Here are some everyday acts you can start doing now:
1. Hold doors for people
2. Buy someone’s coffee, lunch, gas, or groceries
3. Look at someone and smile
4. Compliment someone
5. Carry someone’s groceries to the car
6. Mow their lawn, rake, or shovel
7. Bring a neighbor dinner
8. Say “thank you”
9. Write a handwritten note to someone
10. Say “hello” to people as they pass by