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Health Fusion: Tracking college students and their kindness

When you do an act of kindness, who benefits? You or the recipient? And when you do that act, do you understand why? In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams shares what researchers found out about kindness after studying college students.

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I love this quote from Barbara de Angelis:

  • "Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver."

Researchers from the University of British Columbia say people who do acts of kindness get a boost in health and wellbeing and several studies back up that idea. Kindness reduces stress, promotes happiness and increases acceptance of peers -- all of which benefit mental health. The researchers wanted to build on this, so they designed a study to find out how students define and do kind acts.

They say the post-secondary environment is often the last training ground to prepare students for life so they want to learn the best ways to help students develop optimal mental health as adults.

So students were given a kindness assignment in a course. They were asked to asses how kind they thought they were and how connected they felt to their peers. Then they were asked to complete five acts of kindness in one week -- helping others, giving, demonstrating appreciation and communicating.

Students that completed at least three of the five acts of kindness self-reported significantly higher scores of in-person kindness and peer connectedness.

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They say the research helps students see that kind acts make a positive difference in their own lives as well as the lives of others.

The research was published in the Journal of Further and Higher Education.

Follow the Health Fusion podcast on Apple , Spotify , and Google Podcasts.

For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at vwilliams@newsmd.com . Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

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