February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. Sure, performing a random act of kindness is intended to make the benefiting party feel good, but did you know that random acts of kindness can have positive impacts on the person giving the nice gesture?
Being kind can have a positive impact on your teen’s mood and physical health. Studies have shown that kindness can reduce stress, boost immune systems, and help reduce negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, and depression. Afterall, kindness is chemical.
When random acts of kindness are practiced, neurochemicals that result in a sense of well-being are released. The same neural circuits that are involved in chemical “highs” are the same ones activated by kindness and compassion. Kindness literally can reduce physically and emotional pain because it releases dopamine, serotonin, and endogenous into our system (the natural chemicals responsible for happiness, mood regulation, and pain management).
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Random acts of kindness can enhance the release of oxytocin in interactions where two or more people are engaged in kind behavior. Oxytocin plays a role in forming social bonds such as trust among people, which is essential for teens because social connection is one of their primary developmental needs.
Acts of kindness can release hormones that contribute to a positive mood and overall well being. The practice is so effective it’s being formally incorporated into some types of psychotherapy. In DBT random acts of kindness is part of the Mindfulness Module, accumulating positive experiences skill, and gratitude skills.
These skills help teens manage feelings of depression, anxiety, and overwhelm. It utilizes mindfulness meditation, documenting gratitude, and acts of kindness that are incorporated into daily routines.
Speak with your teen about ways in which they can perform random acts of kindness at home, at school, or in the neighborhood. Encourage them to think of small gestures of kindness that they can incorporate into their daily routine. February is just a start to a lifelong practice of gratitude and kindness!
If your teen needs support with managing their emotions and learning how to bring mindfulness into their daily life contact us here to learn more.