6 Ways that Spreading Love Can Benefit You And Those Around You
A well-known quote from Mother Theresa goes, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples”. It’s true that everyone has their own unique gifts to contribute to those around them and to the world—and they don’t have to be big. Simply aiming to spread love and treat others with respect and kindness in your daily life can create that ripple effect of positivity in your community. What not everyone realizes is that these acts can impact the giver in meaningful ways, too. Read on to learn more about what both you and those around you can gain when you show loving kindness, and get inspiration on how to start.
6 Benefits Of Spreading Love To Those Around You
Engaging with others from a loving place can benefit both them and you. Here’s how.
It Can Be Good For Your Physical Health
According to an article published by the American Psychological Association, performing acts of kindness to those around you has been linked to some physical health benefits like lower blood pressure. They note, however, that health benefits of giving are more likely to occur when the methods are “socially connected or relational”—such as taking a friend who is having a tough time out to dinner rather than sending them a meal. The article also states that the rewards tend to be greater when the person acts kindly of their own accord, rather than being required to do so, and when they feel they’ve made a positive impact.
It Can Be Good For Your Mental Health
The American Psychiatric Association shares details on how acting with love and kindness toward others can improve your mental health. They cite one study that split people who were experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety into three groups. One group engaged in acts of kindness, another joined in social activities, and another participated in a brief therapy intervention. While all three groups experienced reduced symptoms, those who engaged in acts of kindness also “effectively improved social connection and related dimensions of well-being”. They also reference other studies that have found that showing love to others through kind acts can increase happiness and self-esteem while decreasing stress and emotional reactivity.
It Can Boost Your Mood
Mental Health America shares that engaging in kind acts for others can also release positive chemicals in the brain that can boost your mood. They reference a “helper’s high”, similar to a “runner’s high” that can be obtained from exercise. It’s caused by a surge of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which “connects feelings of pleasure to behavior to motivate action”, per the article. So not only can showing kindness make you feel good, but it can encourage you to behave in this way towards others more in the future, too. Plus, showing love to people around you can also trigger a release of oxytocin, “the love hormone”, which is involved in building trust and social bonds.
It Can Win You More Friends
One study classified high school students according to the social roles they tended to play, from “nice youths” to “rebels”. It followed these students over time to see how their role impacted their friendships and found that those who were nice—or high in empathy with an inclination to avoid hurting others—tended to have more friendships throughout high school than all other groups, as well as higher levels of well-being. In contrast, students who displayed rebellious traits tended to disrupt their friendships over time as a result of their own aggression. In other words, acting with kindness and empathy may draw others to you socially, which can benefit your health and well-being in various ways.
It Can Lead To Even More Kindness
Various studies have been done to examine how acts of kindness can move through communities. One explored how kindness can be contagious through the mechanism of positive conformity.
It Can Promote A Positive Worldview
Have you ever noticed how when you’re in a negative mood, you’re more likely to pay attention to and remember things like the person who cuts you off in traffic than the person who lets you change lanes in front of them, for instance? It often works the same way with positive moods and interactions. The events we experience throughout our day can color the way we view the world and others around us. When we exercise our power to put more good into our communities, we’re likely to have a more positive worldview overall as a result.
Ways To Spread Love To Those Around You
Projecting love toward others doesn’t have to entail a large expenditure of time, energy, or money. Even small gestures can have significant effects. Here are a few ideas on how you might spread a bit of love and kindness to others today.
- Give a compliment. A thoughtful, genuine compliment can make a person’s day. For instance, you might praise a colleague for their work on a particular project or let a friend know how much you appreciate a certain quality of theirs.
- Extend help. When you start looking for ways to do this, you’re likely to begin seeing opportunities everywhere. For example, you could help someone who is struggling with a heavy package, shovel the snow from your neighbor’s sidewalk after doing your own, or offer your professional expertise for free to someone who could use it.
- Express gratitude. When someone helps you or when you recall a kindness they extended to you in the past, consider speaking up. Letting others know the ways in which they positively impact us is an often-overlooked method of spreading love and kindness and encouraging others to continue doing the same.
- Practice active listening. Giving a friend or colleague your undivided attention when they’re sharing something with you that’s meaningful or important to them can be another way to show love. This simple act can help a person feel seen, heard, and connected.
- Write a note. Sharing random notes of encouragement or other positive sentiments can bring an unexpected smile to someone’s face. Leaving a short note somewhere for a stranger to find or writing a letter to a loved one can be quick but impactful ways to brighten a person’s day.
Learn To Be A Loving Influence On Others
Support For When Feeling Or Spreading Happiness Is Difficult
It’s not always easy to view the world with a positive attitude and feel motivated to do for others. Mental health conditions like depression, for instance, can make it difficult to take care of yourself at times, leaving little energy for giving to others. The effects of past trauma may also impact a person’s ability to relate to those around them in a positive way. If you’re facing challenges that are making it hard for you to be the positive force in your community that you’d like to be, speaking with a therapist may help. They can provide you with a safe space to express and process your emotions and can help you learn healthy ways to cope with any mental health challenges you may be experiencing.
If you’re interested in connecting with a therapist, you have options for how you can go about it. In-person providers are available in many areas if you’d prefer traditional, in-office sessions. Or, if you’re having trouble locating a provider nearby, can’t travel to and from appointments, or would simply feel more at ease speaking with someone from the comfort of your own home, you might consider online therapy. With a virtual therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can get matched with a licensed therapist who you can speak with via phone, video call, and/or online chat from anywhere you have an internet connection. Research suggests that both in-person and virtual therapy can offer similar benefits in many cases, so you can typically choose the format that’s most convenient for you. See below for client reviews of BetterHelp therapists.
“I’ve worked with Judy for several months and she offered a sympathetic ear and gave really good advice on how to change my thinking (i.e., to focus on strengths, take note of positive things, and to focus on being kind to myself and others).”
“I’ve been working with Nina for 9 months now and she’s made a tremendous impact on my life in a positive way. I’ve done so much healing, personal growth, and self-development, thanks to her and my mindset has become more positive. Nina doesn’t judge ever but she will hold you accountable and call you out. I always appreciate her insight and she has been the most effective therapist for me; this could be related to the fact that we have gone through similar life experiences and are part of the same culture. Either way, I appreciate everything she has done for me. I always joke with her that I’ll be sad when I’m done with therapy because it will feel like I’m losing a close friend and not just my therapist.”
Approaching your interactions with others from a place of love and kindness can bring benefits to both you and your community. If you’re having trouble cultivating a sense of positivity and love for others in your daily life, speaking with a therapist may be helpful.
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