How Does Kindness Help in Healing?

How does kindness help in healing?  To help better understand this essential aspect – the true power of human kindness – we look to science.

Our bodies are a marvel of chemical interactions…intricate systems.  However, each of us is so much more than that.

The way we treat ourselves, animals, and our planet, profoundly effects each and every individual — as well as our cultural wellness.

How Does Kindness Help In Healing

Kindness is much more than a behavior.  In essence, the ability to be kind is altruistic.  People who exhibit kindness hold within themselves an unselfish spirit of helpfulness…they’re considerate and generous, without expecting anything in return. Giving and receiving kindness is free, positive, simple, and healthy.

So, how does kindness help in healing?

Treating each other with kindness is a powerful way to influence health.  Research shows that while medicine can help in curing people who are ill, kindness can help in speeding up the healing process and lead to better outcomes for patients and caregivers alike.

Active listening, offering reassurance, and showing compassion help in calming patients.  These human qualities help patients lower their blood pressure, reduces their pain, and enables more rapidly recuperations. The benefits have been consistently demonstrated in cases ranging from common colds to traumatic injuries.

Feeling Less Pain

Studies dating back forty years ago show that doctors who discuss procedures with patients and reassure them about normal pain after procedures help reduce the pain that’s reported and the amount of pain medication requested.

In addition, a recent study validates that when physicians listen and patients feel heard, patients experience relief from lower back pain and feel better about their care.

Research also found that practitioners, caregivers, friends, and families who are warm, listen actively, and express their kindness and compassion to individuals who suffer from pain, experience less pain, less severe symptoms, and greater health improvement.

Similar results of feeling supported and heard were found to relieve pain for patients with headaches and a variety of other painful conditions.

Essentially, listening and better communication have a positive influence on controlling pain.

For the Body and Mind

How does kindness help our bodies and mind?  Well, kindness has been shown to improve mood and increase compassion, empathy, and self-esteem. It can decrease blood pressure and cortisol, a stress hormone, which directly impacts stress levels.

Looking for… and finding ways to show kindness…helps in generating an activity to help make you focus.  This is especially helpful to you if you are likely to be inclined to be anxious or stressed in social situations.

When we give of ourselves in a balanced way, we’re apt to be healthier and live longer. Kindness increases our sense of connectivity with others, which can improve relationships, reduce depression, and directly impact loneliness.

According to the Mayo Clinic, physiologically…kindness can positively change your brain. Being kind enhances dopamine and serotonin, which are neurotransmitters in the brain that give you feelings of satisfaction and well-being, and cause the pleasure/reward centers in your brain to light up. Endorphins, which are your body’s natural pain killer, also can be released.

The Importance of Being Kind to Yourself

How does kindness fit in with you?  It’s not just how you treat other people.  Kindness helps when you extend those same intentions and behaviors to yourself as well.

Make sure your self-talk is kind to yourself.  Practice gratitude. People are pretty good at verbally putting themselves down.  However, rarely does that work as a pep talk.

Rather, verbally putting yourself down or beating yourself up often causes you to unravel and may even create a vicious cycle of regularly getting down on yourself. You wouldn’t talk to your neighbor the way you sometimes talk to yourself. Instead, consider the “good neighbor policy.”

You may ask yourself, “How does kindness help me?”  The answer — if you wouldn’t say such negative things about yourself to your good neighbor, don’t say it about yourself.

A quote from the Dalai Lama reads as follows:

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

So, how does kindness help in our garden of thoughts?  Practicing kindness is like planting positive seeds in your mind garden. Where what we focus on goes…energy flows.

Author: George Zapo, CPH

George Zapo, CPH is certified in Public Health Promotion and Education (Kent State University). George focuses on providing informative articles promoting healthy behavior and lifestyles. View all posts by George Zapo, CPH

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