Feeling stressed out this holiday season? A new report suggests performing small acts of kindness may lower your stress and improve your mental health.
The study, published in Clinical Psychological Science, points out these random acts don’t have to be a big deal. It can be as simple as opening a door for someone, holding an elevator, or just asking someone if they need any help.
“The take-home message is that when we are stressed and we help others, we can also end up helping ourselves,” study author Emily Ansell, assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, told CBS News.
Helping behaviors seemed to buffer the negative effects of stress on a person’s well-being, the authors found. Those who reported performing more acts of kindness showed no dips in positive emotion or mental health. And they had lower increases in negative emotion in response to high daily stress.
According to a story in NewsMax Health, the study’s lead author believes the findings may help make the upcoming, and sometimes stressful, holiday season a little easier, “Think about giving directions, asking someone if they need help, or holding that elevator door over the next month. It may end up helping you feel just a little bit better.”
Sometimes those small acts can become a huge sensation…..like the story of a Texas restaurant’s kind gesture to grieving parents that went viral earlier this year. Have you seen someone do something that you thought was a kind gesture? Share it with us. We’d love to hear about it!