We recently stumbled upon an article from the Harvard Health Publications about the mind-skin connection. As we all know our mental wellbeing can really affect our skin. High levels of stress can often lead to breakouts and skin flare-ups, but Harvard argues that "the bond between skin and mind has deep roots, going back at least as far as skin-to-skin contact between newborn and mother" - hence our relationship with our skin is pretty complex.
However, today we won't be talking about stress and other psychological factors that can negatively affect the skin.
We will talk about KINDNESS. You know that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you've done something good for someone? Like really good? Well did you know that kindness actually has some pretty impressive health benefits too?
- Kindness makes us happier
As mentioned above - primarily an "act of kindness" makes us feel GOOD. On a biochemical level this is due to elevated levels of the brain's natural versions of morphine and heroin, causing elevated levels of dopamine, also know as the "Helper's High".
- Kindness slows ageing
Ageing is obviously caused by a combination of a number of things, but two things that definitely speed up the process are free radicals and inflammation - both of which are caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices.
However, researchers found that oxytocin (produced through emotional "warmth" reduce the levels of free radicals and inflammation in the cardiovascular system, hence slowing ageing at it's source.
- Kindness is good for the heart
As mentioned above: kindness = emotional warmth = oxytocin produced in the brain and throughout the body. Oxytocin in turn causes the release of a chemical nitric oxide in the blood vessels, which expands the blood vessels, which in turn reduces blood pressure.
It's apparent then, that kindness will indirectly affect the condition of your skin. Making all those of us with sensitive skin wonder why they haven't thought of this before.
So today, in the light of the #RandomActsOfKindnessDay we invite you to participate. (Now with the health benefits of kindness listed above you can't say no). Here's some simple ideas for a kind gesture:
- Buy a person behind you in the queue a cup of coffee
- Open (and hold) the door for someone
- Give your seat on the tube
- Smile at a stranger
- Make a donation to a charity
- Give a call to a family member you haven't spoken to in a while.
And you know another benefit of kindness? It's contagious. By being kind we inspire those around us to be kind creating a "domino effect". So why not do a little "act of kindness" everyday? Making yourself a little happier and healthier every day, and spreading those gestures around.
Imagine how nice that would be?
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.