Could Kindness Cure Your Anxiety?

Doing something nice for other people – passing on a return train ticket, sharing some sweets, helping an old lady cross the road – is amazing. It makes you feel good, puts a bounce in your step. And in today’s political and social climate, let’s face it – we could all do with being a wee bit nicer.

Just as well then that today is Random Acts of Kindness day then, eh?  Go on, help her maw with the dishes. Send a loving text to your annoying sibling. Buy a coffee for your pal. And if a random day of kindness awareness isn’t enough to persuade you, how about this: kindness can crush anxiety.

 

 

Recently two Canadian psychologists proved, the less social anxiety you have. The study, published in the journal Motivation and Emotion, is a win-win. Not only will the whole of humanity benefit from their being more kindness in the world, you’ll also get to kick that rumbling feeling of worthlessness to the kerb. Hooray!

Researchers Jennifer Trew and Lynn Alden took three groups of people with social anxiety, asking each of them to use a different method thought to reduce it. One group was forced into various social interactions — exposure therapy — and another did nothing new to control their social anxiety. The final group was asked to perform random acts of kindness.

The results found that those in the third group were able to reduce their levels of anxiety and feel far more confidence in social situations.

 “Acts of kindness may help to counter negative social expectations by promoting more positive perceptions and expectations of a person’s social environment,” Jennifer said, according to PsyBlog.

 

In other words, by doing something nice for someone else, you are likely to receive a positive reaction from that person. That positive reaction then reminds your brain that interaction can be a lovely thing which in turn will help calm any negative thoughts you have.
Boosting brownie points while benefiting mental health? We’re so sold.

 
What do you think? Will you be sharing a random act of kindness today? Let us know on Twitter! 

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