Be Kind for Your Health

  When was the last time you did something nice for someone? If the answer doesn’t come to mind quickly, it’s time to act. This month we describe how acts of kindness offered once a day — like a vitamin — can offer much the same benefits. Let’s face it, we all appreciate when someone does something nice for us. But did you know the helper is getting something as well? There are numerous scientific reports documenting the health benefits that helping others provides. Acts of kindness improve emotional health, self-esteem, and even physical problems. People often describe a “helper’s high” that accompanies a good deed. This feeling of satisfaction comes from the release of chemicals called endorphins, a natural painkiller that also reduces anxiety and tension. That explains why folks in pain often feel an improvement in symptoms when [...]

Gratitude: Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness Read Time: 1 min 35 seconds According to research, perpetually kind people have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone), and age slower than the average population. Performing acts of kindness not only enhances others’ lives but is rewarding to our bodies and minds through feel-good hormones that are released. However, the effects of kindness aren't long-lasting, which means cultivating a daily practice of kindness for ourselves and others, is key. Each year, Random Acts of Kindness week is recognized from February 14th to February 20th. There is no better time to cultivate kindness than now!   Benefits of Kindness Have you ever felt that warm feeling when you’ve done something kind? When we perform acts of kindness, hormones like oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin are released in the brain. These hormones can give you feelings of satisfaction, [...]

Emotional Health: Positivity & Kindness

Positivity & Kindness Read Time: 1 min 37 sec 2020 has brought a variety of challenges to people all over the world. Pandemics cause more than physical illness; the emotional toll due to added stress is extensive. According to a recent study by the American Psychological Association, stress levels have increased substantially due to COVID-19, and the negative health effects will be serious and long-lasting. Managing ongoing stress can have an impact on our overall feelings of happiness and positive thinking. We must concede that even though many elements of the crisis will be out of our control, there are some things within our control that can make a difference. These habits can improve our emotional wellbeing if we learn to practice them regularly. Boosting Happiness and Positive Thinking Positive thinking can have a great impact on stress. It is [...]

April is National Volunteer Month

National Volunteer Month April is National Volunteer Month, but volunteer work any time of year is important for the health of both you and your community! Nearly one in three American adults (77 million!) volunteer each year, contributing a collective 6.9 billion hours of service at an estimated value of $167 billion. But did you know that helping others could help you too? Helping your community is what matters most, but when performed altruistically, volunteering has mental and physical health benefits for volunteers themselves. Research has shown positive associations between volunteering and improved health in older age demonstrated by longer lifespan, higher cognitive function, and lower rates of depression. It’s hypothesized that knowing your actions make a lasting impact on those you serve helps you feel better about yourself, thus reducing stress. Volunteering can also offer a new sense of [...]

Strengthen Social Connections

You may have heard that people from the Mediterranean region are the healthiest on the planet, with low risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and depression. Good nutrition and physical activity are not the only reasons for these health benefits. A major contributing factor of the Mediterranean Lifestyle includes social connectedness.   The Mediterranean Diet ranked first place as U.S. News and World Report’s Best Overall Diet of 2019, beating the ketogenic diet (#38) and Whole30 Diet (also #38) by a longshot. Although there’s no official definition of a Mediterranean eating pattern, it’s generally characterized by lots of vegetables and fruit, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, low-fat or fat-free dairy, plant oils, and seafood. Chicken and other meat products (especially red) are included sparingly—just a few times a month. Not sold yet? Many proponents also make room [...]