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Inspiration

3 Ways Kindness Can Heal Us — From Easing Stress to Boosting Longevity

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No matter what sort of challenges life may throw at you, the miracle cure for so many sour moods is kindness! Here, three experts share concrete ways that a random act of kindness can actually improve your health.

1: Curb your stress.

“Behaving kindly — like simply sharing a smile with a stranger — raises your naturally occurring levels of the love hormone oxytocin,” explains psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, PhD, author of Love 2.0 (Buy on Amazon, $10.79). “This in turn curbs stress-induced rises in heart rate and blood pressure.”

2: Boost your mood.

“Send your friend a text that says ‘I miss you’ or ‘Just thinking about you,’” advises Sunny Dawn Johnston, spiritual counselor and author of Living Your Purpose (Buy on Amazon, $18.50). A random act of kindness, like crafting a sweet message, stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain — a mood-boosting chemical that sparks positive feelings of connection!

3: Improve longevity.

Being empathetic helps forge connections because people feel heard, validated, and understood, so says author and social researcher, Brené Brown, PhD. Plus, studies show that people who make strong social connections — at any age — tend to live longer, healthier lives.

Looking for more mood boosters? Check out these stories from our readers on acts of kindness, and find out 21 random acts of kindness you can do for others.

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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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