You give, you get. Spending money on others can improve cardiovascular function, a study in Health Psychology found. No need to drop major cash spending smaller amounts, even $5, does the trick says study author Ashley Whillans, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist at Harvard Business School.
Performing acts of kindness increases levels of oxytocin, a hormone associated with our happiness, which can improve your mood and lower feelings of anxiety. Amazingly, the same goes for witnessing someone else's generosity. One thing that can spike said anxiety? When some frustrated soul snaps at you. Resist the urge to dish it back by pausing and reminding yourself that it likely wasn't personal. Also hand with pals who are good to others studies suggest that kindness is contagious.
When people experienced a stressful event in their life like a job loss or death of a loved one, those who performed kind deeds within the same year were more likely to live longer, according to a study in the American Journal of Public Health. The authors believe the compassionate behaviors buffered the stress induced by those tough patches and enhanced resiliency. Make helping others a habit.
Basking in feelings of compassion and gratitude can strengthen your body's defense systems. People who took part in a five-minute practice to reflect on these emotions saw a spike in immunoglobulin A, an antibody responsible for fighting off viruses, research in the Journal of Advancement of Medicine shows. Devote five minutes to thinking about a person you care for. It's that easy. For a deeper effect, write a letter to someone detailing what you appreciate about them, you don't have to send it. Studies have shown that just by articulating your thoughts, you feel more connected to that person, more humble, and more prone to act on your charitable feelings.