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Talk about a win-win. Acts of kindness make the world a better place, pure and simple. But did you know that performing a simple kind act also boosts your physical and mental health? “Being kind is not only the right thing to do — it’s also good for our physical and mental health,” writes Zara Abrams in the American Psychological Association’s website. “Psychologists have found that performing acts of generosity boosts happiness and well-being and is even linked to physical health benefits, including lower blood pressure.”

Be Kind graphic icons

Achieving both those goals — making the world a better place and enhancing mental health — is the motivation behind a non-profit organization co-founded by Lady Gaga that is dedicated to supporting youth mental health — the Born This Way Foundation (BTWF). One of the foundation’s signature campaigns is #BeKind21, and the APA is taking an active role in participating in this year’s campaign.

There are a couple things to keep in mind about acts of kindness, though. Citing advice from Lara Aknin, PhD, Abrams writes that “Not all acts of generosity are created equal. Giving directly to a person or proxy — for instance, donating face-to-face to a charity rather than contributing online or taking a friend out to dinner rather than sending them a meal — offers an opportunity for social connectedness that’s particularly beneficial.”

For more information on the APA’s involvement in #BeKind21, and for some ideas for simple acts kindness, see the APA website.

See more information on the Born This Way Foundation here.