This year, Joy99 is digging into the fruits of the Spirit. For May, we’re focusing on Kindness. Did you know that there are scientifically proven benefits that come from being kind?

Here are 5 benefits being kind has on our brains and bodies:

1. Kind people stress less…Perpetually kind people have 23% less cortisol (which is our stress hormone) and age slower.

2. Kindness can give us more energy…In a study carried out at UC Berkley, over half the participants found that they felt stronger and more energetic after helping others.

3. Kindness can relieve pain…Helping others is believed to increase levels of an endorphin-like chemical in the body called substance P, which can relieve pain.

4. Kindness is good for the heart…Kindness produces the hormone, oxytocin, in the brain and throughout the body. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide in blood vessels, which dilates (expands) the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and therefore oxytocin is known as a ‘cardioprotective’ hormone because it protects the heart (by lowering blood pressure).

5. Kindness is contagious…The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnessed the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to “pay it forward.” This means that just one random act of kindness can have a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people!

For more info on these stats, click here!

Do you ever feel like it’s easier to be kind to a stranger than to people in our own homes? Why is that? We smile at someone in the store, but growl at our spouse. We let someone ahead of us in line, but won’t put anyone else’s dishes in the dishwasher for them? We buy coffee for the person behind us in the drive-thru, but won’t let anyone else in the house be in control of the remote. (or is all this just me?) Galatians 6:9-10 says “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” We could all do better at this.

We have some help for you. Print this out, and see how many of these you can make happen before the end of the month. And who knows, you might just keep them going all year!

Please join us in our Kindness Challenge here!