Kindness Is Good For Us

It’s not exactly news, that kindness is good for us. And yet it does seem important that a new study validates the fact. The Kindness Test is a major new study  devised by the university of Sussex and launched by BBC Radio 4 involving more than 60,000 people from 144 countries. They have been asking questions about what makes people be kind. The short answer is that it is because it makes people feel good. Some might even say it is not altruistic at all. They wanted to know if religion was a factor, and in a way it is, in the sense that kindness tends to be an expectation for those who are from religious households. But what is much more of a predictor is personality. Kindness involves being outward, reaching out to people, and extroverts are more likely to do that. In some cases, people may refrain from acts of kindness because they fear their action might be misunderstood. What seems  to run across the board is that  for those who receive an act of kindness as for those who initiate it, it increases a sense of well being and life satisfaction. Claudia Hammond visiting professor of  the public understanding of psychology at the University of Sussex says “it’s a win-win because we like receiving kindness but we also like being kind.”  The results of the study  are being aired on BBC Radio 4  in a program called The Anatomy of Kindness and Hammond is the presenter. 60% of those who participated in the study said they had received an act of kindness in the previous 24hours. Hammond says that being kind may even stem from ulterior motives, making it a selfish act in a way, because we know from brain research that being kind  straight away creates a warm fuzzy feeling. It also makes one feel that we are someone who cares about people and we want to be good.  Regardless of all the particulars, the point is that kindness is much more prevalent than we might think.

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