If you’re looking for a healthy boost, new research shows you may need a different kind of vitamin K: kindness.
Acts of kindness make us feel better and healthier. is also key to how we evolved and survived as a species, scientists say.
“is as bred in our bones as our anger or our lust or our grief or as our desire for revenge,” University of California at San Diego psychologist Michael McCullough, author of the forthcoming book The Kindness of Strangers, told the Associated Press.
Some researchers describe a happiness loop. “Doing kindness makes you happier and being happier makes you do kind acts,” said labor economist Richard Layard, who studies happiness at the London School of Economics.
University of California at Riverside psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky has put that concept to the test in numerous experiments over 20 years and repeatedly found that people feel better when they are kind to others. “Acts of kindness are very powerful,” Lyubomirsky said.
But it’s not just emotional. Lyubomirsky said a study of multiple sclerosis patients found they felt better physically when helping others. She also found that in those who did more acts, the genes that trigger inflammation were turned down more than in people who don’t. She’s also found more antiviral genes in people who performed acts.
“We’re kind because under the right circumstances we all benefit,” University of Oxford anthropologist Oliver Scott Curry said.