Kindness to Others Is Kindness to Self—It’s Science!

August 10, 2020 | Filed Under One Nice Thing, Things I Think About | No Comments

Today’s One Nice Thing is also science news:  This article titled “Not so random acts: Science finds that being kind pays off” by Seth Borenstein (science professor at New York University and science writer for the Associated Press).

Borenstein opens with “Research shows that acts of kindness make us feel better and healthier. Kindness is also key to how we evolved and survived as a species, scientists say. We are hard-wired to be kind.”

Borenstein spoke with several individuals working on the topic (all of the names have links to their web pages if you wish to view their research):
University of Oxford anthropologist Oliver Curry, research director at Kindlab
University of London psychologist Anat Bardi, who studies value systems
Duke University evolutionary anthropologist Brian Hare, author of the new book “Survival of the Friendliest
University of California San Diego psychologist Michael McCullough, author of the forthcoming book “Kindness of Strangers”

Kindness is also rewarding for the individual performing the acts of kindness. “Doing kindness makes you happier and being happier makes you do kind acts,” said labor economist Richard Layard, who studies happiness at the London School of Economics and wrote the new book “Can We Be Happier?”

University of California Riverside psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky found that “in people doing more acts of kindness that the genes that trigger inflammation were turned down more than in people who don’t.”  She’s found more antiviral genes in people who performed acts of kindness.

The articles has some photos, and this is my favorite:

A woman wearing a face mask is looking at a note in her right hand, while she holds a hand truck with supplies at the top of a staircase in an unevenly lit hallway.

[Image description: A woman wearing a face mask is looking at a note in her right hand, while she holds a hand truck with supplies at the top of a staircase in an unevenly lit hallway.]

“Photo note: On this Thursday, April 30, 2020 file photo, Galina Yakovleva pulls a cart with a charity food and goods to a woman in need in St. Petersburg, Russia. Every day amid the coronavirus pandemic, the 80-year-old Leningrad siege survivor Galina Yakovleva has driven to the city in her minivan to bring charity groceries and goods to elderly Photo: Dmitri Lovetsky, AP”

Kindness clearly has done Ms. Yakovleva much good—she survived the siege of Leningrad, and at age 80 is fit enough to take care of others during the coronavirus pandemic.

So, if you want to be happy and healthy, be kind!

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