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Improve Your Well Being With Acts of Kindness

by BetterSleep
Nov 12 • 4 min read

Being kind to others, giving back to your community, volunteer work, and other acts of charity and compassion are not just good for those you help. Being kind and helpful also benefits the giver. Many studies have shown that doing good for others contributes to improved physical and mental health. And when you feel better and happier, of course, you sleep better.

Being Kind Just Makes You Feel Better

There are many different ways to be a kinder person, and varying degrees of kindness, but evidence from research indicates that even just witnessing a kind act makes you happier. A study on the subject assigned participants the task of either performing one extra act of kindness per day or of trying to observe people being kind to each other.

Whether the individual was kind to a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger, they were happier after the fact. Surprisingly, even those participants who simply witnessed kindness in others felt happier at the end of the study. The researchers suggest that observing kindness between other people may trigger a neurological pathway that has hardwired us to care for others. Or, it may just be that seeing goodness helps us focus on the positive aspects of life.

Other studies have gone into more depth in examining the mental health benefits of giving. Researchers who surveyed multiple studies to investigate the connection, found overwhelming evidence that people who do volunteer work are less depressed, have lower stress levels, and enjoy greater overall well-being and satisfaction with their lives.

Six potted plants and cactuses with flowers

Helping Others Provides Purpose and a Better Night’s Sleep

Charitable work and giving is a great way to find a deeper purpose in life. People who are kind to others, who do volunteer work, or who care for a loved one are more likely to have a sense that they have a role in the world, that they make a difference to others. This sense of purpose has a direct impact on sleep quality.

In a study involving 825 older adults, researchers compared sleep habits, quality, and disorders to life purpose. They found that those adults with a strong sense of purpose were less likely to have sleep apnea and other sleep conditions. They also reported higher quality of sleep compared to other adults. Being kind to others can help you find purpose, and that can make a difference at bed time.

How you sleep and your mental health are closely connected. Anything that can improve mental health, well-being, sense of purpose, and satisfaction with your life will help you sleep better. More quality sleep, in turn, improves mental health. It’s a kindness-sleep cycle.

How to Be Kinder

Improving wellness and sleep with acts of kindness is a worthy goal, but what does it really involve? You may not have a few hours a week to devote to volunteer work or extra money to donate to a worthy cause. But anyone can be kinder every day by making it a priority.

Make a commitment to perform at least one act of kindness per day and see how it feels. This could be as simple as holding the door open for someone even if you’re in a hurry or giving a coworker a compliment.

You can also use your BetterSleep meditation sessions to work on building compassion. Meditation with a focus on kindness has been shown to improve well-being and foster a sense of connection to others. Even if you’re new to meditating, you’ll get significant results. Practice it every night and kindness meditation can help you feel better and sleep better.

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