JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — Life has no doubt been stressful over the past year, but a little dose of kindness can go a long way to lifting your spirits. Kindness can not only improve your mood, but science has proven it can also benefit your health.
“From the cardiovascular aspect, we see lower blood pressure and lower risk of cardiovascular disease, from showing kindness not only to others, but to yourself,” Dr. Mona Shah said.
Dr. Shah with Baptist Heart Specialists is double board-certified in cardiology and holistic medicine. She says kindness is proven to have a myriad of positive effects.
“One, it can lower depression, lower anxiety, and help with chronic diseases. There have actually been great studies that show that people who volunteer and who actually show social support, not necessarily receive it, but actually give it out, live almost twice as long and have longer life spans,” Dr. Shah said. “Their mortality is actually increased by showing kindness. “
Being kind releases what Dr. Shah calls “happy hormones”, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin.
“Those three are really powerhouses of kind of relaxing everything in your body, your breathing, your heart rate, your blood pressure,” Dr. Shah said. “Oxytocin is actually shown to dilate our arteries and cause lower blood pressure, it can actually improve inflammation, and help the immune system.”
When you show kindness, even something as simple as smiling at someone, Dr. Shah says you can get a “helper’s high”.
“It actually releases all these very amazing neurochemicals in our body that does these amazing things that help us live longer and have better heart health,” Dr. Shah said.
For more health tips you can visit Dr. Shah's blog.