Saturday 1 October 2016

Mindful moment… Why it's healthy to be kind

Published 22/05/2016 | 02:30

Kindness boosts so-called 'feel-good' chemicals in your brain.
Kindness boosts so-called 'feel-good' chemicals in your brain.

Most of us know that it feels good to be kind but did you know that it could actually be a life-saver - not just for the person you are helping, but for yourself?

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As well as boosting levels of so-called 'feel-good' chemicals, such as dopamine, in your brain, (resulting in a "helper's high") being kind also produces a hormone called oxytocin, which dilates blood vessels and reduces blood pressure.

Triggering a release of oxytocin into your system also reduces levels of free radicals - molecules which are known to cause cancer - and inflammation in the cardiovascular system. Since both of these are also known to play a role in heart-disease, according to doctors, in this way kindness is 'cardioprotective'.

What a lovely thought!

So, go on, do something nice today. Take on a task for someone at home or at work, or treat your community to a random act of kindness. Not only will it make you feel like a saint but your ticker will thank you for it too!

* Marianne Power is the author of

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