“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” – Amelia Earhart
Many of us daydream about being a grand hero, where your actions change the lives of countless people. If you’re struggling with a mental health condition, those dreams of making a difference might begin to fade, since just getting through the day takes up all your energy.
You can make a difference, though, and all it takes is random acts of kindness. Doing something nice for another, no matter how small, can actually boost your mood. In this blog, we’ll take a look at the benefits random acts of kindness can have on your mental health.
How Random Acts of Kindness Improve Your Mental Health
They Take the Focus Off Yourself
Are you your own worst critic? It’s common for anyone with a mental health condition to be hard on themselves. The anxiety, stress and obsessive thoughts you go through each day can erode your self-worth. As a result, mental health conditions often convince you to judge almost every aspect of your life.
What if you could take a break from all that internal pressure? Random acts of kindness focus your attention on helping others instead of judging yourself. Helping someone else can lead to feelings of gratitude and help you feel more confident in your own ability to make a difference in your community. These positive feelings can evolve into an appreciation for the positive parts of your life, diminishing harsh critiques of yourself.
They Improve Your Mood
Mental health disorders like depression and anxiety can negatively impact your mood and keep you from hobbies and activities you used to enjoy. In a recent study, researchers found that random acts of kindness may actually be able to combat these symptoms.
The study organized participants into three groups: the first group did an act of kindness each day; the second group tried a new hobby; and the last group served as the control group, participating in no activity. The researchers found that those who practiced random acts of kindness saw a significant boost in their mood compared to the two other groups.
The results suggest that helping others may actually serve as a gateway to learning how to find joy for yourself again. When you’re in more positive spirits and feel better about yourself, you’re more likely to take part in more events and extracurricular activities that bring you happiness.
They Can Help Your Brain and Body Cope
Think about the last time you performed a random act of kindness. When you held the door open for someone or returned a lost item, did you feel good about yourself? That’s because acts of kindness release neurochemicals in the brain that promote a positive sense of well-being.
Many mental health medications help increase or balance the serotonin levels in your brain. Random acts of kindness have this same effect, releasing dopamine and serotonin in the body. This isn’t to say that random acts of kindness can replace your prescribed medications. However, they can supplement your medication and help you cope with your mental health condition.
7 Random Acts of Kindness You Can Do Today
Random acts of kindness can have a positive effect on your mental health. Now that you know this, it’s time to put some into practice. Here are seven ideas that can get you started:
- Let the person in line behind you at the grocery store go first.
- Make room for another driver who is trying to get into your lane.
- Treat the person behind you at the drive-through to a coffee or dessert.
- Give a compliment to a friend, family member, boss or co-worker.
- Donate your time volunteering at an animal shelter.
- Write a recommendation for a co-worker on LinkedIn.
- Rake leaves or mow the lawn for your neighbor.
The smallest acts of kindness can help you feel some relief from your mental health disorder. If you feel like you need more support, though, that’s okay. The Raleigh House can help you address your mental health condition and establish healthier ways to manage it.
Find Healing for Your Mental Health at The Raleigh House
At The Raleigh House, we know how hard life can be when it’s overshadowed by a mental health condition. Our team has more than 10 years of experience helping people like you improve their mental health and quality of life. Mental health struggles aren’t something you have to try to fix on your own.
As a trusted leader in behavioral health and dual diagnosis disorders, we offer residential and outpatient treatment for a variety of mental health conditions. With an east to west approach that combines evidence-based treatments and experiential therapies, you’ll discover healthy ways to cope with your mental health disorder.
Contact our admissions team today to learn more about how we can help your mind, body and spirit heal.