The Selfish Benefits of Kindness
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The Selfish Benefits of Kindness


The other day I was in a coffee shop and the
guy in front of me yelled at the barista because his grande caramel frappuccino was a double
shot instead of a triple. Being a jerk may feel sort of gratifying in
the short-term, but I started to wonder: does it actually make us happier? When you think of things that would make you
happier, what comes to mind? Is it going on a vacation? Spending more time with your friends? Or winning the lottery? It may surprise you, but research shows that
a major way we can boost our own well-being is by being kind to others. Kindness can increase our life satisfaction,
decrease pain, and even affect our bodies at a cellular level. I’m Vanessa and you’re watching BrainCraft,
where we explore the psychology in your everyday life. Now, to explore how kindness impacts your
mood, researchers at the University of California, assigned undergraduate students to spend an
hour and a half doing kind acts on campus. These acts included giving compliments, paying
for parking meters, and carrying items for others. Afterwards, students reported increased optimism
and life satisfaction. Their findings suggest that kindness can improve
your mood. Don’t have an extra hour and a half for
kindness today? That’s okay too. Research shows people assigned to perform
one act of kindness each day for ten days reported increased life satisfaction compared
to a control group that didn’t intentionally perform kind acts. Adults aren’t the only ones who benefit
from dishing out kindness! In another study, children assigned to performing
3 kinds acts per week gained more friends over the course of a month This all goes to show that just a few kind
acts per week can also have benefits! But there’s more to kindness than just improving
your mood. A lot of research has explored the impact
of something called loving-kindness based meditation, a Buddist practice where one focuses
on extending unconditional, unselfish affection and kindness towards all people. Studies suggest that just 3 sessions of this
meditation can improve focus; and just 8 sessions was shown to decrease pain in a group of patients
with chronic low back pain. Though perhaps most surprisingly, kindness
may even affect how fast our cells age. One study found that women who practiced loving-kindness
meditation had relatively longer telomeres than non-practitioners. Telomeres are these caps at the ends of chromosomes
that get shorter and shorter as we age and shorter telomeres are associated with earlier
mortality. Scientists aren’t sure exactly why loving-kindness
meditation is associated with longer telomeres, but chronic stress is known to shorten them. They think this meditation may reduce stress
therefore leading to relatively longer telomeres. So how can you learn to be kind and reap all
of these benefits for yourself? One way is to simply set kindness goals. Purposefully performing just one act of kindness
each day is enough to see measurable benefits. It doesn’t seem to matter who you are kind
to: people assigned to perform acts of kindness to either friends or strangers report similar
increases in happiness. Acts of kindness can be big or small. Give a stranger a compliment. Call your mom just to say hi. Buy coffee for a coworker. Donate blood. Or… like this video! We don’t often think about how being kind
to others can have all sorts of benefits for us. But if you want to feel happy, have less pain,
and maybe even age more slowly, stop being a jerk and start being kind.

About Bill McCormick

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52 thoughts on “The Selfish Benefits of Kindness

  1. I’m baaaack! With some words of wisdom… and science. Do something kind for others, okay? Turns out it’s pretty good for you

  2. Another reason to be kind is why not. You won’t lose a thing when you are nice to others. Even if your health doesn’t improve and you still have chronic and mental issues, at least there are people who you are nice to that will help you. The though of you making someone smile should be more than enough to do it

  3. It's so true, awesome video Vanessa! Kindness is ironically enough a selfish act !
    Because you get all the benefits like reduced stress, you live longer and it makes you feel better too !

  4. WHAT LIVES INSIDE
    We scrutinize morals, gauge ethical standards.
    We weigh and we balance and proclaim the results.
    But the subject of the judgement isn't really being tested.
    The questions, and their answers, say more about us.

    We are defined by what we care about,
    Refined by what we do about it,
    Shine brightest when in service to those most in need.
    The elemental bond forged within the act of giving
    Rewards the giver with a bonus transcending the deed.

    A connection, a belonging, a sense of community,
    For some the fulfillment of a search for unity.
    These bonds keep us in touch with our own humanity.
    All that from a concept so easy, so simple,
    To reach out, lift up, to extend a helping hand.

  5. I think that is true. Because…
    A month ago some crushing sound brakes my sleep after nightshift. My first thought was it's earthquake. I was going to the opened window to leave a house. Than I saw what actually wake me up… My neighbor got his firewood delivered. I was so mad! I was mad at myself, the neighbor, truck driver… at every breading creature on Earth and my pavement got blocked. The weather was nasty it should rain any moment. If rain starts neighbor will leave his firewood and go home. So I thought… should I be at home and mad at everyone and still have my pavement blocked or should I help a guy?
    I choose second opinion and I was feeling happy to the rest of that day.

  6. There are also material benefits through reciprocity. In the Netherlands, we can collect stamps for a free coffee by buying a coffee. I am always kind to baristas at my uni and sometimes I get double stamps or even a free coffee. Reciprocity can be abused as well, so be careful about that. You don't want to be the person who manipulates others.

  7. Me and my dad have been talking about this a lot lately. We both go out of our way to help people but we agree we do it selfishly. I think being selfish is ok in this sense. Thanks for the video!

  8. I was confused when I heard “early immortality” but then realized you said “earlier mortality”. Those are quite different.

  9. The subject in this video made me think of Friends, the episode when Phoebe and Joey debate if there's such a thing as a truly selfless act 😀

  10. I usually dislike to praise myself, but for once I'm kind to myself and do it anyway:
    Recently, I noticed that I regularly do a small act of kindness by watching videos on YouTube as soon as I can if they are from a smaller YouTuber, in hopes to boost their chances of getting picked up by this unforgiving YouTube algorithm.
    And yet I don't know if it is paying off in the end for them.
    I also picked up the habit of actually liking every video I like, even though it'd be easier to just move along.

    Now I'll go back to a neutral feeling towards me, because writing this comment made me physically uncomfortable. 🙂

  11. I don't think it's just kindness but overall cooperation and I think most people return kindness. Also this type of stuff should be taught in elementary school along with conflict resolution and

  12. Well, I have to admit that I do recognize the benefits. I operate as a rescue volunteer on a local civil-defense organisation in my town, and I see how being both kind and useful not only helps us being better persons (and give help to people in need) but, at the (literal) end of the day, results also as a nice… let's call it "marvellous self-esteem elixir"
    So thanks for this video and analysis: I've found it really useful and interesting: it'd be another (positive) message about keeping myself into this kindness road 👍 (and, to share some kindness, let me also offer a gentle scratch on Luna's head 😉)

  13. I love videos like this that help improve the world and human society. One thing to keep in mind is the cause of this ability to improve while doing either of these kindness measures. It could be that people who are depressed or that have anxiety problems are unlikely to participate in such experiments or receive benefits from them. So if you know someone that does not try to do such things or turns it down, it could be that they are suffering in the first place rather than having their suffering be caused by either refusal or inability to do such kind things. So be kind to your fellow humans and give people that refuse to this the benefit of the doubt.

  14. The connotation of “selfishness” implies that what you do is at the expense of others. So I’m not sure it fits well when talking about a mutual benefit from everyday acts of kindness. I completely agree with the message otherwise!

  15. It makes me feel sad and frustrate me when I'm kind to someone and that person doesn't appreciate. If I practice my act of kindness to that person, will it change its mood and apologize, or I it will make that person grumpier?

  16. That guy being a jerk encouraged you to push for others to be better to one another and themselves. Thanks, jerk at the coffee shop.

  17. I want to be kind but i have been hurt in the past which made me cynical to the point that I can't trust the information in this video.

  18. And for those who lack a tight social group due to being farther from societal clusters, you can get this helper's high from being kind to nature. Clean up some litter, make a quality bird nest, clear that fallen tree out of the path that little critters find a struggle to get past. I know from personal experience that these tasks both keep me physically fit and happier.

  19. Being a jerk doesn't pay off later in the long term, (unless you want to be in a relantionship) and you will miss opportunities because of it, being kind often brings new unexpected opportunities

  20. Lovely! Sharing this video on my FB page that is about kindness. It's called 'A Kind Me' ! It's perfect reminder to my followers to be kind!

  21. What about the ethical implications of being kind? Maybe it could unnaturally increase your expectations of others, make you more privileged and arrogant, and possibly more evil in the future (due to moral licensing)

  22. And for nolife gamers such as myself. Play Healer,Help a new player get pass a hard level,give helpful advice,say GG at the end of each game,and switch teams when the other team is being dominated.

  23. 1:34 how did the study determine that the children made more friends?
    Did Kid A do something nice for Kid B and then Kid A said at the end of the week "yeah, they're my friend now," but when Kid B asked if they would consider Kid A their friend, Kid B had to be reminded of who Kid A was? 🙂

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