Quiz time: what is the opposite of stress?

You might think it’s peace or relaxation. And while those are great benefits of a healthy mind and body, they are not the opposite of stress.

 

The opposite of stress is kindness. We all know what stress feels like, but did you know that the power of kindness can have the opposite effect on our body’s internal systems?

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When we experience stress, our body releases stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which can have negative effects on our cardiovascular and immune systems. Chronic stress can lead to a weakened immune system, increased blood pressure, and inflammation in the arteries and immune system. In contrast, kindness has been shown to release molecules such as oxytocin and nitric oxide, which can relax the nervous system, lower blood pressure, and reduce free radicals and inflammation in the arteries and immune system. Additionally, acts of kindness have been linked to increased happiness, less depression, and even slower aging!

 

EffectsStressKindness
HormonesCortisol, adrenalineOxytocin, nitric oxide
Nervous systemTension, ‘fight or flight’Relaxation, ‘rest and relax’
Blood pressureIncreasesReduces
Cardiovascular healthIncreases risk of cardiovascular diseaseProtects cardiovascular system
Immune systemWeakensBoosts
HappinessDecreasesIncreases
DepressionLinkedProtective
AgingAcceleratesSlows

Now, let’s talk about some simple ways to incorporate kindness into your daily routine. One way to be kind is to practice gratitude by expressing appreciation for the people and things in your life. This can be as simple as sending a thank-you note or expressing gratitude during a conversation. Another way to be kind is to offer a helping hand to someone in need, whether that means carrying groceries for an elderly neighbor or volunteering at a local charity. Additionally, practicing empathy by actively listening and trying to understand another person’s perspective can go a long way in building positive relationships and spreading kindness.

Remember, acts of kindness don’t have to be grand gestures to make a difference. Small acts of kindness such as smiling at a stranger or offering a compliment can have a ripple effect and make the world a happier, more compassionate place. So let’s all make an effort to be a little kinder to ourselves and those around us!

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