Kindness and generosity have been shown to have numerous positive effects on mental health. These traits can help reduce stress, improve self-esteem and happiness, and increase feelings of social connectedness.
One of the main ways that kindness and generosity benefit mental health is by reducing stress. When we engage in acts of kindness, our bodies release oxytocin, a hormone that helps reduce stress and increase feelings of relaxation and calm. Generosity can also reduce stress by taking our focus off of our own problems and instead directing it towards helping others.
In addition to reducing stress, kindness and generosity can also improve self-esteem and happiness. When we engage in acts of kindness, we often feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in being able to make a positive impact on others. This can lead to increased self-esteem and a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment. Generosity can also lead to increased happiness, as research has shown that people who give to others experience a boost in happiness and well-being.
Another way that kindness and generosity can benefit mental health is by increasing feelings of social connectedness. When we engage in acts of kindness, we often build stronger relationships with others and feel more connected to our community. This sense of connection and belonging can be incredibly important for our mental health, as social isolation and loneliness have been linked to negative mental health outcomes.
Here are 12 peer reviewed studies which have studied the various effects of kindness and generosity.