According to the Tao Te Ching, virtues such as kindness, loyalty, love, and compassion benefit both the individual and the society. Those who practice these virtues are more likely to enjoy a happy, long life.
In The Healing Power of Doing Good: The Health and Spiritual Benefits of Helping Others, Allan Luks shows the health benefits for those who perform selfless acts of kindness. These include:
- Helper's high- the release of feel good endorphins that happens after doing an act of kindness produces a heightened sense of well being. This is often followed by and extended period of calm.
- Reduced stress- helping others reduces feelings of depression, hostility and isolation and can lower blood pressure and reduce levels of stress hormones like coritsol.
- Recurring benefit- acts of kindness don't just affect you at the time you do them. Each time you remember the kind act you are flooded with good feelings that enhance your sense of well being for hours or days.
- Happy thoughts- Helping others can increase feelings of joyfulness, emotional resilience, well-being and optimism
- Affiliate connection- acts of kindness make you feel more connected to others, and this sense of connection can have a positive effect on you health.
If you shift your focus from yourself to others, extend your concern to others, and cultivate the thought of caring for the well-being of others, then this will have the immediate effect of opening up your life and helping you to reach out.