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Healthy Colorado: Kindness impacts on mental health

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- We are nearing the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, but focusing on mental well-being should be an all-year goal, not just something we prioritize in May.

A small gesture of kindness can be more beneficial than you think. Studies have found a positive link between kindness and mental health.

"Just say hi to three different people today and ask them a little bit about themselves," says Dr. John Yeaw, Family Care Center Regional Director and psychologist. "These little homework assignments really gets them to engage in the behavior and once they do this assignment, even very minimal they are surprised by the impact that they get from that ."

Dr. Yeaw says participating in these acts of kindness can reduce feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety, boost self-esteem, and improve life satisfaction.

"There's actually been a lot of research on this," says Dr. Yeaw. "We are seeing a lot of people that have actually shown kindness that is a part of their daily routine and having that kind of a positive attitude has been related with better health overall. Lower instances of other diseases."

But it's not just a boost to physical wellbeing.

"The emotional health benefits is kind of the good part because it is reciprocal when you actually engage in kindness with others then getting something in return often helps someone that is feeling lonely or isolated and helps them build a lot of social support so they feel wanted and very much involved, says Dr. Yeaw."

Applying kindness can be especially beneficial for seniors. As people age, they may experience certain life changes that impact their mental health, such as coping with a serious illness or losing a loved one. Although many people will adjust to these life changes, some may experience feelings of grief, social isolation, or loneliness.

Article Topic Follows: Healthy Colorado

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Brynn Carman

Brynn is an anchor on Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Brynn here.


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