Stress management techniques: Being kind to others is part of human nature, reduces stress

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Haters might be everywhere but a new study brings back hope to humanity: Kindness is part of human nature and being mean to others is just an effort to reverse people’s natural instinct to be nice.

Medical Daily reports that a study conducted by researchers at Yale University investigated on whether being kind is inherent to humans or a divergence from natural behaviour.

For the study, psychology graduate student Adam Bear and psychology professor David Rand developed a game to measure a person’s unselfish behaviour. The players were allowed to play more than one game at a time, where some games rewarded the players’ unselfish behaviours and the others didn’t. The game disabled the players’ use of a fixed strategy and forced them to rethink their every move.

According to their findings, players who used their instincts most likely came from a more supportive and friendly environment, where they have experienced kindness as they grew up. This prompted them to be more kind and generous to others despite not knowing if it was going to be beneficial to them or not. On the other hand, those who played strategically by making sure their moves were beneficial to them most likely came from hostile environments. These players forced to ignore their natural instinct to cooperate and were intentionally selfish.

Meanwhile, other studies reveal that being kind to others reduces stress, too.

A study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science explained that being kind to others could be a major stress-reliever and improves a person’s mood as well.

“Our research shows that when we help others we can also help ourselves,” said Emily Ansell from Yale University School of Medicine, one of the study’s authors. “Stressful days usually lead us to have a worse mood and poorer mental health, but our findings suggest that if we do small things for others, such as holding a door open for someone, we won’t feel as poorly on stressful days.”