* Persons who experience compassion and practice kindness  experience physical health improvements; improved immune systems, lower blood pressure, and reduced muscle tension compared to persons who are less compassionate and kind.

* Persons who experience compassion and who practice kindness tend to be more social, to have more friends, and to report feeling closer to the friends they do have.

* Persons high in empathy and kindness tend to live longer and to be healthier – both mentally and physically – even when studies control for other factors.

* Acts of kindness are associated with increased marital satisfaction.

* Being kind increases our own sense of connection to others – a very powerful protective factor for preventing and reducing mental health concerns.

* Being kind increases our sense of gratitude and happiness.

* Being kind to others combats self-centeredness, self-pity, and depression.

* Persons who engage regularly in acts of kindness often report experiencing an “emotional high”.

* Persons who engage regularly in acts of kindness report both increased pleasure in life as well as increased energy.

* Persons who live with chronic pain but regularly engage in kind acts report a decreased focus on pain, even temporarily ‘forgetting’ about pain at times.

* Persons who report engaging in regular acts of kindness towards others report both improved sleep time and improved sleep quality.

* Even children benefit from being kind. One research study found that when children were instructed to perform kind acts daily over several weeks, the kids were both happier and became more popular with their classmates.

Feel hurt & pain? – Be kind.

Feel all alone and lonely? Be kind (and volunteer).

Feel sad & down? Be kind.

Feel stressed? Be kind.

Have poor self-esteem? Be kind.

What all this means is that being kind to one another has positive benefits both for the individual and for society. Biologically our brain and our physical health are rewarded when we are kind. As a group our society becomes stronger when we practice kindness; and we are more likely to have offspring survive into adulthood and reproduce themselves when we are supportive of one another. Hence, the simple act of kindness offers many rewards.

A reminder – what makes us human is our desire to connect with one another – kindness makes this connection possible. Indeed, we would not be fully human if we had no desire to connect with others. The absence of kindness leads to mistrust and broken relationships – in marriage, in families, and in business relationships. So in a very real sense, civilization depends on kindness.

Ron Hill