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Why being kind to others is good for your health

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20201215-why-being-kind-to-others-is-good-for-your-health

bbc.com

Why being kind to others is good for your health
While we might all enjoy the warm glow of helping out others or giving up a little of our time for charity, it could be doing us some physical good too.

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Altruistic behaviours promote wellbeing

Altruistic behaviours promote wellbeing

Formal volunteering, monetary donations and random acts of everyday kindness promote wellbeing and longevity.

  • Studies show that volunteering correlates with a 24% lower risk of early death, a lower risk of high blood glucose, and a lower risk of inflammation levels connected to heart disease.
  • In one study, participants who showed simple acts of kindness, such as buying coffee for a stranger, had lower activity of leukocyte genes related to inflammation.
  • Participants who showed acts of kindness became more pain-resistant.
  • Grandparents who regularly babysit their grandchildren have a 37% lower mortality risk than those who don't provide such childcare. That is a larger effect than may be achieved from regular exercise.

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Focusing on others is really good for you

It is not surprising that kindness and altruism should impact our physical wellbeing. People are immensely social. When we are interconnected and are truly useful to others, it influences our wellbeing.

During the first half of 2020, Britons donated £800m more to charity, half of Americans have recently checked on their elderly or sick neighbours. Americans and Australians left teddybears in their windows to cheer up children. A French florist placed 400 bouquets on cars of hospital staff.

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When empathy doesn’t come naturally to you

A third of how empathetic we are is down to our genes. But it does not mean people born with low empathy are lost.

No matter where we start, we can all improve in empathy.

  • Try to look at the world from another person's perspective for a moment each day.
  • Practice mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation.
  • During lockdown, take care of pets or read emotionally-charged books.

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Your body needs dark too

Your body needs dark too

While we are starting to pay attention to how important sleep is, the need for dark is still mostly ignored.

Being exposed to regular patterns of light and dark regulates our circadian ...

Our sleep and wake patterns

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