In Dr David Hamilton’s blog post, ‘Born to be Kind’, he explains how we have been conditioned to show kindness through our heredity. No wonder being kind makes us feel better – it’s part of our genetic makeup.
Our bodies have evolved to produce a hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin is sometimes referred to as the ‘cuddle chemical’ or the ‘hug hormone’, with good reason. It helps us to emotionally bond with each other.
We don’t just produce oxytocin when we’re being kind, but even when we’re thinking about being kind. So all those hours spent looking at cute animal videos on YouTube weren’t wasted after all!
Even small expressions of support between family members and friends will stimulate the release of oxytocin. As will quality time with your pets. Or someone else’s pets.
Not only do we get to feel better, which improves our mental health, but there are many physical benefits of oxytocin being released too. Love, trust and sincerity can prompt our inner healing process.
Oxytocin can increase the body’s healing rates and slow ageing rates. It can lower blood pressure and decrease intestinal inflammation. The list goes on.
So if you’re being kind to someone else, they benefit and so do you – it’s not just kinda nice, it’s kinda win-win!