It’s World Kindness Day! With all that’s going on in the world, it seems we all can use a little extra compassion right now. Even if you don’t feel the need for a “good mood boost,” you can still reap big benefits from becoming more altruistic.

As people search for better and faster ways to improve their health and wellness, they often overlook easy, inexpensive and effective social wellness activities like volunteering and doing good deeds. Research shows that doing altruistic acts-like volunteering at a community center or donating blood-not only help improve mental health and well-being, but also  help  people live longer, happier, and healthier lives. What a wonderful  addition to your personal wellness plan.

Surprisingly, research also shows that people who give kindness and compassion often receive more health benefits than people who receive acts of kindness. In the book Wellbeing, Tom Rath and Jim Harter explain how certain parts of the brain become more activated when we give money than when we receive money.  Neuroscientists believe this reaction in the brain creates a sense of reward and emotional connection by causing the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine and oxytocin.  These brain chemicals affect our ability to feel pleasure and experience social bonding.

In addition to these mental wellness benefits, acts of kindness also improve physical wellness. For example, older volunteers have been found to live longer, more satisfying lives. It’s important, however, to make sure your  acts of kindness support you in creating a balanced life instead becoming a source of stress. Health benefits start to fade if volunteers feel overwhelmed by their activities.  Maintaining personal balance is important to sustaining optimal health.

Need some ideas about how to get started? Go to www.worldkindness.org or www.randomactsofkindness.org for some  ideas.

In the meantime, here are a few easy wellness tips to help boost your health and social wellbeing by practicing kindness.  Enjoy!

1)   Call someone to tell them you’ve been thinking about them.

2)    Buy a bag of groceries for someone who is on a fixed income.

3)    Buy a cup of coffee for a stranger.

4)    Pay a toll for the car behind you.

5)    Donate a dollar to an important cause.

6)    Smile and say hello to a stranger.

7)    Donate supplies to a local school.

8)    Offer to babysit for a single parent.

9)    Bring a healthy treat to the office for your co-workers.

10) Drive someone who doesn’t have a car.

Wellness Resources: Books about Kindness and Social Wellness
Wellbeing, by Tom Rath and Jim Harter
The Altruism Equation: Seven Scientists Search for the Origins of Goodness, by Lee Alan DugatKin

For Children:
Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler, by Margery Cuyler
Have You Filled a Bucket Today: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids, by David Messing

Be well!

Dr. Donna

Follow Me

Donna Hamilton, MD, MS, FAAP

Chief Wellness Officer at Manifest Excellence
Bestselling author, dynamic holistic wellness speaker and wellness luminary Dr. Donna Hamilton, MD, has a mission to help everyone live the healthy, satisfying lives we’re all meant to lead. Dr. Hamilton passionately teaches what being healthy really means and how to do it in a way that fits your unique needs. Her easy, practical tips assist you with assessing the entire wellness landscape and appropriately planning your personal wellness journey.

A wellness thought leader, she champions a comprehensive approach to health by addressing mental, emotional, social, spiritual & physical well-being with a simple and potent message. Her book Wellness Your Way offers a practical strategy to assist readers in creating a happier, healthier life. For more information or to book Dr. Hamilton for speaking engagements visit www.ManifestExcellence.com or www.DonnaHamiltonMD.com
Follow Me

Latest posts by Donna Hamilton, MD, MS, FAAP (see all)