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The Science of Kindness: Biology Proves How We Are All Connected

• Good News Network

In my exploration of how kindness connects people, it has become pretty clear to me that being kind to someone else uplifts both people and creates a positive link between them. Many times, I have read how people feel good after they help someone through volunteering, or even holding a door open—and I've felt it myself.

If persuaded to explain why it feels good, it is clear that helping someone else (or simply witnessing kindness) sets off a series of changes in the brain similarly to the release of endorphins, the internal opiates. Spiritually, of course, helping someone is the right thing to do. The biological connection between my spiritual understanding and how I feel suggests that nature has wired me to do so; my body is reinforcing/rewarding these "right things" with pleasurable sensations. Similarly, the receiver also feels good because he or she has been acknowledged or valued.

Acts of kindness therefore create meaningful connections between people. It is part of what I have called the "kindness-connection cycle", in which acts of kindness connect the giver and receiver to one another.

The focus of this class is the last arc of the kindness-connection cycle, which states that meaningful connection increases kindness in turn. The central idea is that when we truly understand how each of our lives is intertwined with so many others, kindness, compassion, and collaboration flow much more naturally.

Although we are unique individuals, our lives are part of a dynamic and vibrant larger network. What each of us does in that network influences many others and vice versa—i.e., we are in this together.

There are many different examples of how we are connected to each other, such as being connected through economics, interpersonal interactions, workplace, community, family, etc.

One overlooked aspect of being connected to each other, however, is the common biology that we share. For example, blood courses through our arteries and veins before being filtered by the kidneys and pumped by a heart which beats approximately 100,000 times every day.

There are many other systems that, with slight variation, function the same way in healthy people, such as the regulation of blood sugar, blood pressure, and immune responses – and although we may differ in outward appearance (height, body, facial shape, or skin color), our bodies still generally work the same way.


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