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Is Kindness Contagious?

By Katelyn Millinor, LPC | Behavioral Health Quality Manager

Being kind to others is known to have lasting effects on our mental and physical health. But have you heard that kindness is contagious? That’s because it is!

Being kind lights up the pleasure center of the brain and releases serotonin and oxytocin.

  • Serotonin centers our mood, happiness, and overall feelings of well-being.
  • Oxytocin, often known as the “love hormone” controls social interactions, triggers the bond between mother and infant, and so much more.

The release of the hormone oxytocin is tied to decreasing blood pressure and reducing inflammation. Therefore, kindness feels good and is actually good for you.

Catching Kindness

Have you ever had a stranger pay for your coffee or hold the door for you? Experiencing an act of kindness can bring a smile to your face and improve your mood. In today’s fast-paced world, these gestures can be even more meaningful. Kindness benefits both the giver and the receiver. 

We often attach kindness to feelings of happiness. We may think of happiness as a mood or emotion, but really we are usually just feeling neutral which can make you feel cheerful. The feeling of happiness comes and goes with things like giving or receiving kindness, giving a compliment, or getting good news.

So, how can you continue giving random acts of kindness during a global pandemic? The possibilities are endless. With technology, people can send thoughtful text messages, social media comments or posts, Zoom or FaceTime interactions, and more. Outside of technology, think about leaving your mail carrier a “Thank you” letter, sending a picture or card to a front-line worker, or simply making a nice comment while picking up your groceries. Here are a few other ways to spread kindness in your day.

Everyone has experienced some sort of increased stress during this pandemic. That’s why kindness – in big and small ways – is more important than ever. Your one random act of kindness could change someone’s day and start a chain reaction of kindness!

Physical and Mental Benefits of Being Kind

By Jessica Heintz, DO

In a world focused on getting ahead and moving faster, perhaps the solution to many problems is to simply slow down and be nice to someone – including ourselves! Kindness is a trait that everyone is capable of but far fewer demonstrate. At the same time, people stop and take notice when they see a truly kind act demonstrated by another. Described as a “habit of giving,” kindness can produce physical, social, and psychological benefits. It puts a smile on our faces while at the same time making the world a better, brighter place. Learn about the “why” and “how” of practicing kindness in our everyday lives.

 “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.” 

Mr. Rogers

The physical and mental benefits of kindness are tangible. Kind actions signal our brains to release the natural chemicals of serotonin and dopamine. Essentially, these are the “feel good” hormones. When they are low, people can experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. Helping increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine by practicing kindness can help lessen these feelings and create a “helper’s high”. Positive emotions can subsequently help reduce stress. Depending on the action, kindness can even encourage physical activity. Raking your neighbor’s leaves will not only make your neighbor smile, but it will also help you burn a few extra calories!

Kindness produces psychological benefits as well. Practicing kindness often provides perspective on life and distracts us from our own problems. It helps foster gratitude, empathy, and compassion in our minds and hearts. Kindness helps form a positive and supportive environment as well as bonds with others, thus reducing isolation and loneliness. For those struggling with mental health, as many of us do, this is an invaluable part of any mental health recovery journey. Finally, kindness allows us to engage in meaningful activities, and it can provide a sense of purpose and context in the world.

How can you start to develop this habit of giving in in your own life? It is easy. Start with yourself, then move on to others. We cannot give of ourselves if there is no excess to draw from. Always begin with self care and being kind to yourself. Do something you enjoy and learn to set limits in your life. Keep a gratitude journal, take a bubble bath, practice your golf game, watch the sunset, exercise, enjoy a glass of good wine, sleep in late (or at the very least, go to bed early). Then, try to be kind to others. The opportunities are endless. You can volunteer, mentor, or become involved in supporting a charitable cause. Practice random acts of kindness by holding a door for someone, buying a stranger’s coffee, or even simply making eye contact with another person and smiling as they walk by.

These sorts of actions may seem trickier to do in our current COVID world, but I challenge you to get creative. Write a letter to a friend, call a grandparent, leave snacks out for delivery drivers, or cook a meal for a neighbor in need to drop off at the door. Kindness to animals counts too – consider taking your dog for an extra walk. Remember, it is the intention behind an action that matters rather than the size of the gesture. When the world slowly emerges from COVID quarantine, refocusing on the value of connection to and interaction with our fellow man through kindness cannot be understated- even if it is from 6 feet apart! It feels good to do good. Now, go out and be kind!

Be Kind to Humankind: The Benefits of Kindness

By Katelyn Millinor, LPC

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

Mark Twain

Have you ever had a stranger pay for your coffee or hold the door for you? Experiencing an act of kindness can bring a smile to your face and improve your mood. Being kind can be shown as a supportive smile, a helpful hand, or heartfelt words. In today’s fast-paced lifestyle these gestures can be increasingly meaningful. It benefits both the giver and the receiver.


Being kind to others is known to have lasting effects on our mental and physical health. Kindness lights up the pleasure center of the brain and releases serotonin and oxytocin. The release of the hormone oxytocin is associated with decreasing blood pressure and reducing inflammation. This is why kindness feels good. Further, it is valued across cultures and religions, and is an innate part of our being.

Benefits of kindness include:

  • Improve relationships with others.
  • Increase overall happiness.
  • Improve feelings of self-worth or self-esteem.
  • Decrease anxiety and depression.
  • Reduce stress.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of kindness is developing connections. The more we connect with others the greater empathy and understanding we display. Go ahead—do that volunteer activity or smile at a stranger. If you are looking for ideas of ways to share random acts of kindness with others, check out these 50 fun ideas.

Some you can try today include:

  • Smile at 5 strangers
  • Send a gratitude email to a deserving coworker
  • Tell a manager how wonderful their employee was at helping you
  • Compliment 3 people you meet today
  • Send a positive text message to people in your life

Be kind to Humankind.

Talk with someone on NOAH’s behavioral health team to discuss any questions or challenges you or a loved one has with moods, emotions, and so much more.