Pozwolę sobie umieścić info o książce, którą poleciła mi siostra z Australii. Mogła jeszcze dodać, że słońce wprawia w dobry nastrój i dodać otuchy w te przedłużające się u nas w Polsce pochmurne dni 🙂
In his book, Why Kindness is Good for You (Hay House), former scientist David Hamilton describes a 2008 study which revealed those who gave money to someone in need, or listened carefully to another’s point of view, were happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who bought a new piece of jewellery or went to a big party.
The reason it feels good to be kind and be shown kindness is that it actually causes chemical and structural changes in the brain and body that make us healthier, happier and live longer.
Oxytocin – the so-called love hormone – is produced in the heart and brain when we hug, smile, feel grateful and show kindness. The latest scientific studies reveal that this natural wonder drug makes us more trusting and generous, eats up free radicals – a primary cause of disease and ageing, reverses the effects of a poor diet, and even helps a foetus grow.
„It’s so good for you,” enthuses Hamilton. „And all you have to do is be kind.”
Helping others beats an anti-depressant or bar of chocolate hands down. In lots of scientific studies it’s been found to alleviate short and long term depression. In one particular study, 12% of participants were left feeling euphoric (experienced a ‚helper’s high’). Allan Luks, who the led the study and wrote The Healing Power of Doing Good, also noted that helpers also happened to over-eat less and generally slept better.
So why not pick a day and do three acts of kindness on that day every week? Buy someone flowers, babysit, smile at a stranger – and watch the changes it brings. Self-esteem rises when you’re nice. You begin to think „I’m a better person than I thought I was.” And for the best results, vary your kind deeds.
„If you want a strategy to increase your happiness, there’s a lot out there that can help you. You can take pharmaceuticals, but gratitude is something that doesn’t have side effects” says Dr Robert Emmons, author of The Psychology of Gratitude.
A 10-week University of California study asked one set of participants to write down five things that happened in the week and they were grateful for („wonderful parents” was one), while the second set were to list five hassles („stupid people driving”).
Unsurprisingly at the end, those in the gratitude group were a full 25 per cent happier than the others. They were also more optimistic, exercised more and had fewer physical symptoms of illness
„One of the beauties of gratitude is that we begin to take pleasure in the small things that go unnoticed when we’re under pressure or overwhelmed. But they’re actually the seeds of our happiness,” says Hamilton.
It is particularly powerful with those we love, who we can tend to take for granted. But when we remember and show gratitude for all the good they bring us, they do the same to us. It’s a magical positive circle that ensures the survival of the relationship.
A study by Allan Luks found that people who volunteered once a week had better mental and emotional health than those who did it once a year. In fact, there was a 10 times bigger chance of them enjoying such benefits than the annual volunteers. But don’t overdo it to the point where it becomes an obligation or wears you out. Find a level you enjoy.
Lots of scientific studies have clearly shown that people who get out and about and enjoy socialising have lower death rates. Being connected to friends, family and acquaintances is essential to our wellbeing; it allows us to look out for each other and support one another through the tough times.
So, if you know someone who’s lonely or lives alone, visit them or give them a call. It’ll do you good, too.
One of the fastest ways to get oxytocin surging through your nervous system is to give someone a hug. [Dzień Przytulania? 🙂 ] A hug can show love: (it says, ‚I want to be close to you’) and it can also signal kindness (it says: ‚I’m here for you’). Research has indicated that even the anticipation of a warm hug might increase oxytocin levels.
We all know the healing relief – even exhilaration – that comes after expressing our emotions, yet it can still be difficult. But keep at it if you want to make yourself happier. Women who suppress their feelings – especially negative ones – are at greater risk of depression than those who talk openly. The more you express yourself, the higher your levels of oxytocin.
Forgiveness – letting go of the past – is a major act of kindness towards yourself. A lot of research shows how very good it is for us – big drops in anger, depression, pain, tiredness and pessimism have been recorded. Forgiveness heals not only the emotional but the physical heart, too.
A University of Miami study shows that writing about the benefits of a transgression can make people more forgiving. For example, if a partner betrayed you, you might write that it helped you see him in his true colours. Or that it helped you to be more independent. There are gifts in every hurt; life’s happiest people are those who see them.
Peace – our own and the world’s – depends on our capacity to see through other people’s eyes. When we feel compassion for someone, we’re inspired to be kind to them. The interesting thing is, we’re genetically wired for empathy.
„The brain’s ’empathy circuit’ – which we’re born with – lights up when we see a person in pain,” explains Hamilton. „When we see someone suffering, it reproduces the same feelings and brain changes in us. In the same way, being around a happy person makes us feel good.”
To strengthen your compassion skills and put you back in touch with who you really are, Hamilton suggests doing a loving-kindness-compassion meditation in which you genuinely wish wellbeing and freedom from suffering for those you care about. It’s written in full on page 33 of Why Kindness is Good For You. The key is practice.
Scientists at the University of Wisconsin who studied expert and novice meditators, reported that the experts’ practice produced „an unconditional readiness and availability to help living beings.” Wow.
So if you want to be happy – be kind.