Last month the Mental Health Foundation and YouGov surveyed 4,246 UK adults and found 63% said other people being kind had a positive impact on their mental health. The same proportion also agreed that being kind to others has a positive effect on their mental health.
To get these effects the act of kindness doesn’t have to be huge. From simply letting someone know how much you appreciate them or helping with small tasks to formal volunteering, the thoughts and feelings this evokes are the same.
This also seems to be the case regardless of the recipient, whether they are close to us or a member of broader society. There is even evidence to suggest that simply remembering kind things we have done or experienced in the past may increase our wellbeing.
There are many reasons why these actions can have this positive effect. Kindness can boost our mood strengthen our relationships and make us feel more capable. It is suggested that actions which we take to help or benefit others can act as a buffer to the negative effects of stress on our health.
Our motivations for helping others can also play a role. When we act with kindness it is generally a behaviour that comes from a place of genuine warmth and feelings for others rather than from any form of obligation or anticipation of reward or self-gain.
With so many ways to be kind and opportunities to do so, you might just make a lasting difference to someone’s day!