Why Giving Feels So Good

Family Promise | Giving BackBy Mel Davis

Social-Work Intern

A friendly greeting. A warm, inviting meal. A hug and a reassuring smile.

A cozy bed to curl up in after a long day. A listening ear. A safe ride.

These are just a few of the countless ways that our wonderful volunteers show kindness toward the families we serve, with the smallest acts making such a big difference in each family member’s day-to-day lives. But kindheartedness does more than benefit the recipient of the gesture; it’s good for the giver, too.

Both giving and receiving even the smallest acts of kindness have been shown to increase the chemical serotonin in the brain, which helps folks feel happy and less anxious. According to research, even just witnessing compassionate gestures boosts oxytocin, known as the “love hormone,” which can help lower blood pressure and improve overall heart health.

Oxytocin has also been shown to increase self-esteem and optimism, which is great when you’re feeling blue or defeated. Because all it takes for the body to release these feel-good chemicals is for someone to observe a kind act, doing something nice for someone can affect the mood of entire communities, which makes people more likely to pay the act forward! What’s more, researchers have found that people who are in the habit of performing kind deeds have 23% less cortisol (the hormone that causes stress) and even age slower than the rest of the population!

If you would like to experience the awe-inspiring effects of kindness on your physical and mental health, as well as on the health of those around you, we invite you to tour our Day Site or sign up to volunteer. Your body and mind (& our families) will thank you!

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