Health benefits of kindness

There are lots of health benefits associated with kindness in its many manifestations - kind attitudes, kind ways of doing things, kind acts, social groups with kindness as a defining value, a kind environment, and so on.  In fact, kindness is very good for our physical and mental health, according to social science research.

Studies have linked kindness to various physical health benefits including;

  • improved immune response,
  • pain reduction,
  • improved cardiovascular measures,
  • improved energy and strength in elderly people,
  • longer lives.

These benefits were measured in research that looked at specific groups - eg people who volunteer were found to live longer, and elderly people who were involved in caring for others were less likely to die over the period that was studied.  I can be quite sceptical about research methodology even when the experimental design is regarded as robust.  But the research done in this area clearly points to ways in which kindness can be very powerful indeed. 

Benefits of kindness to emotional and psychological health include:

  • decreased negative emotions,
  • increased happiness and positive emotions,
  • reduced loneliness,
  • improved self-concept,
  • greater flexibility and tolerance,
  • increased attractiveness to others both as friends and as potential partners. 

And being kind means we are more likely to receive kindness.