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Kindness and Health

It does not need any deep study of science or medicine, to understand or even experience the mind body connection. Just observe someone closely when the person is very angry: Doesn’t blood rush to her/his face and make it show the anger?  You would also observe how nervousness or great anger causes someone’s hand to be shaky. Strong unpleasant emotions can be shown to destroy appetite, and impair digestiom. With some people they may increase the blood pressure to dangerous levels. 

People who engage in acts of kindness to others generally find that such acts make them “feel good.” Dr. Allan Luks, one time executive director of the Institute for the Advancement of Health studied kindness and wrote his findings in his book, "The Healing Power of Doing Good: The Health and Spiritual Benefits of Helping Others."

His surveyed the effects of doing a kind act by  3,000 volunteers of all ages  throughout the United States. He confirmed a clear relationship between helping and good health. Luks arrived at the conclusion that “Helping contributes to the maintenance of good health, and it can diminish the effect of diseases and disorders serious and minor, psychological and physical.”  In this study, researcher Luks found that most of the persons, who helped others without any expectation, experienced what he called the "Helper's High". This is a feeling of exhilarations, accompanied sometimes by a burst of energy..

Helpful behaviours such as those resulting from kindness release endorphins (known as "feel good" hormones) in the brain. The wellknown U.S. psychotherapist Arlene Uhl reported that MRI scans have shown that the parts of the brain that handle positive emotions are very active when people experience compassion and empathy.

However, one need not read such research reports to find out that by helping others we help ourselves remain healthier and happier. As they say, “the proof of the pudding lies in eating it!”. For a short time, say your next free weekend, just observe the people you happen to meet. Do very small acts of kindness that can make them happier or just more secure or comfortable. Watch their reactions. Observe how you feel.

Also visit these websites:
Kindness Helps Healing by V.S.Kalbag
An article for lay persons in a Medical Journal
Kindness & Health
This is about exhaustive research on the subject
How Good Deeds can benefit you
More on the benefits of kindness

Kindness Unlimited