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The adventurous pilot Amelia Earhart once said, “No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another,” and she was right. Acts of kindness have a way of being contagious. Turns out, helping others can be good for your health.

According to David R. Hamilton, Ph.D., performing a kind act releases oxytocin, which temporarily lowers your blood pressure. Oxytocin is the same brain chemical that’s released when you hold a baby or snuggle with a dog, so “kindness is literally good for your heart.”

According to an article about stress relief expert Lauren E. Miller by PR Newswire, practicing random acts of kindness in your life could lead to:

  • Increased immune system
  • Increased energy level
  • Lower heart rate
  • Balanced cortisol levels which result in less internal stress
  • Laughter and joy, resulting in decreased stress hormones

Even witnessing an act of kindness can help improve your mood, states Psychologist Jonathan Haidt . He calls this feeling a “peak experience—those moments of awe, wonder, and a sense of ‘rightness’ which make us feel immensely grateful to be alive.”

According to Haidt, witnessing something as simple as a passerby giving his lunch to a homeless man or someone giving up their seat on the bus for another can trigger a “warm feeling in the chest…an increased desire to help, and an increased sense of connection with others.”

While doing acts of kindness for others may take a few minutes out of your day, it’s well worth your time. You’ll make your world, and theirs, a little more awesome.

At Direct, we make acts of service a part of our daily life. Watch as our agents make the world a little bit of a better place, one pleasant surprise at a time.