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How Kindness Helps You Heal

I had the absolute pleasure to attend a talk by Dr. David Hamilton, a scientist who holds a PhD in organic chemistry and  author of ten books, including Amazon’s best seller ‘The Five Side Effects of Kindness’, ‘How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body’, and most recently, ‘The Little Book of Kindness’. I won’t be able to do enough justice to the profound messages he delivered, but I’ve managed to point out the ones that stuck with me in how the simple act of kindness can affect your body physically, and therefore help you to heal your own body.  

Dr. Hamilton spoke quite at length about his work in the pharmaceutical industry, where he helped to create drugs for cardiovascular disease and cancers. He described his work as similar to that of a kid building lego, except that instead of coloured lego bricks, he played with the construction of atoms. 

During his career, they did many experiments on drugs, and to which the “placebo effect” seemed to come into play on countless occasions. He decided to study this phenomenon further, as the the number of patients who actually improved in their conditions using a placebo, or sugar pill, was quite significant.

But what causes this positive effect in people’s physical bodies? His answer was The Kindness Hormone, which comes from the feelings of elevation, satisfaction and connectedness.

“When you believe something, it changes your brain chemistry in accordance to what you believe. So even though a drug works, the very fact that you believe it will work actually significantly raises it’s potency.”

When your body is stressed, it produces stress hormones such as adrenaline or cortisol, which triggers the ‘fight or flight’ reactions of an individual. Most people would naturally assume that peace or relaxation are the opposite to stress, but instead these are actually the absence of stress. The direct opposite to stress is actually ‘kindness’ according to the physical response that the body has.

When a person is kind, the feelings that are generated are positive and the body produces oxytocin which is a ‘feel good’ hormone. Now, there are actually receptors on the inner lining of the arteries that nothing else will fit except for this hormone. When the hormone is produced, it then ‘parks’ into the receptors within the arteries, which in turn expands and softens them, ultimately acting as protection and prevention to the heart for illness and disease, and lowers blood pressure. 

“The gene that produces the ‘kindness hormone’ is one of the oldest of the human genome that is over 500 million years old. This tells us that we are genetically wired to be kind. It’s part of our deepest, truest nature.”

It was also interesting to find out that meditation on a regular basis has a mind-body effect, and actually increases the thickness of the pre-frontal cortex. This is the front part of the brain that deals with memory, attention, speech and reasoning, amongst other functions. The conclusive evidence was that regular ‘exercising’ of this part of the brain via meditation actually physically changes it in the same way that a muscle does when a person is working out. 

Now similar to a person who is feeling stressed, one particular Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice called Mettā  (or Loving Kindness in English) focuses on inducing feelings of kindness and compassion. This not only results in a physical change to your brain, it also increases the level of the ‘kindness’ hormone in your system that protects and prevents you from getting ill. As your brain doesn’t know the difference between actually doing something kind, and generating the feelings of kindness, the same process is triggered within your physical body. The Meditation on Twin Hearts is based on this exact style of meditation and therefore produces the same benefits.

Conclusion: Being kind creates feelings of elevation within a person, that triggers the production of the ‘kindness hormone’ or oxytocin. This in turn will physically change the make up within your body, namely the lining of your arteries that will induce the natural healing phenomenon of the body, decreasing blood pressure and enabling less pressure and strain on your heart. And this is all scientifically proven.  

At the end of Dr. Hamilton’s talk on kindness, there was an opportunity to ask questions from the audience. I couldn’t resist and took this moment to take his talk one step further and ask him about his thoughts on whether he believed that there could be a ‘transference’ of thoughts, feelings and emotions to other people. Obviously I was trying to get to the point about energy healing and whether this theory could expand to ‘transferring’ the kindness feelings to induce healing in others. As it wasn’t necessarily the forum for this very complex and expanded topic, David managed to address my question properly. I was amazed and very pleased with his views, especially coming from an organic chemist with a PhD – a scientist.

“I personally believe there’s a transfer of consciousness that generates something in your own self that has a corresponding effect in the other person. I really do believe that there is a transference of your own belief in consciousness from one person to the next. It’s like an entanglement in your state of consciousness or willingness and desire for the other person to somehow, in some unexamined process, bring about an effect in another person   – the effect seems to be just as potent if the person’s on the other side of the world.”

I would absolutely love to continue on with this complex topic of discussion with Dr. Hamilton one day. He mentioned that there are reasons for all of this to happen, including the distant healing effect – all of which I’m sure are based on science. Perhaps with a little bit of perseverance on my part (and some focused intent!) I’ll be able to continue with a Part 2 of Kindness in another blog post….

To read more about Dr. David Hamilton’s amazing work, visit his website where you can find links to his books on the mind-body connection, attend his Business talks and courses and read more about his fascinating work..