Despite contributing to the greater good, an article titled 5 Research-Based Reasons to be Kind lists some of the other proven benefits of practicing kindness.
The first reason being that kindness is inbuilt. In other words, although many times the path of kindness is a conscious decision, we are also pre-wired to practice this behavior innately. A study done by Dr. Michael Tomasello from the Max Planck Institute showed children at surprisingly young ages demonstrating kindness to their parents. Through this research, we are able to see that when we are kind, we are getting back in touch with our natural tendencies, which unsurprisingly results in feeling good about ourselves.
Secondly, kindness can have positive effects on the brain. Through research on neural pathways and the neural circuitry of the brain, research has proven that kindness, when practiced on a regular basis, has positive psychological benefits. This is seen in the elevation of mood neurotransmitters and the increased flow of endorphins.
Third, kindness has been proven to extend life expectancy. Research regarding this point is traced back to helping others. Those who helped others saw a lower risk of death over a five-year time span, compared to those who were on the receiving end of kindness and saw no change. Therefore, in order to reap these benefits, one must be on the side of helping others, compared to simply being the one receiving help.
Fourth, kindness is contagious. Kindness is beautiful in the sense that when someone is kind towards others, they are then more likely to act with kindness. A study conducted by university researchers at Cambridge University, University of Plymouth, and UCLA discovered that when individuals witness a kind act, they experience positive feelings which then inspire them to spread kindness. Therefore, it is scientifically proven that kindness creates a ripple effect. What better incentive to do a little good in the world than knowing that it will spread and create a positive outcome?
Finally, kindness makes you a happier person. A study done by the University of Pennsylvania showed that when one person shows kindness to another and is able to see the happiness on their face, the happiness you yourself experience can last for up to a month after! Another study conducted by a Japanese university showed that kindness is directly correlated to happiness in the sense that kindness is a direct contributor to happiness.
The research speaks for itself, practicing kindness makes you happier. If not for anyone else, be kind for yourself and your own well-being, it is certain that you will not regret it!