Listen to this program in recognition of August 19, “World Humanitarian Day”. What is the good result of an act of kindness? Robin Basselin and Ryan Geertsma look at the good results for the kind person!

Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Robin Basselin.

Voice 2

And I’m Ryan Geertsma. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Click here to follow along with this program on YouTube.

Voice 1

The lion roars in pain. This wild animal has stepped on a small, sharp thorn. He is hurt, but he cannot remove the thorn himself. He searches for someone to help. Finally, he sees a boy watching over sheep. The lion says to the shepherd, “Do not be afraid. Please, help me.” The boy can see pain in the lion’s eyes. He pulls out the thorn.

Voice 2

Years later, a king arrests the shepherd for a crime he did not do. The king declares that the shepherd will be killed. The king releases a lion to kill the shepherd. But suddenly, the lion stops. He walks slowly towards the shepherd. The lion puts his foot gently on the shepherd. This is the same lion the boy helped years before. The king is amazed by their story. And he releases both the boy and the lion.

Voice 1

This ancient story was written by the Greek writer Aseop. The story shows how the shepherd’s life was saved because of his past kindness. Today’s Spotlight is on how modern science is supporting this old idea – that doing good is good for you.

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People have long understood that kindness is good for the person receiving help. For example, when a person gives food to a hungry person, the hungry person is blessed. His stomach is no longer empty, and he has received a good gift. However, scientists have recently begun to study the effect acts of kindness have on the person doing them. What they have found is that doing good is, in fact, good for the doer. Acts of kindness can improve health, help a person reach goals and even add years to a person’s life.

Voice 1

Many scientific studies have shown the connection between doing good and long life. The first study to show this connection was a study on aging. Beginning in 1956, scientists studied a group of married mothers for 30 years. They thought the women with the most children would die first. But what they found surprised them. The number of children a woman had did not matter. Wealth did not matter. Education did not matter. Class did not matter. What did matter was if they volunteered – if they gave their time to help other people. Women that volunteered had fewer major diseases during their life. This helped them live much longer than the women who did not volunteer.

Voice 2

Since that first study, many other studies have found the same positive effects. Helping other people improves long-term health. It works even better then exercising four times a week.

Voice 1

The gains are the same for men, women, old people and young. In fact, many different studies have been done with older adults over the age of 65. Each time, the study showed the same results. Those people who volunteered had fewer major sicknesses than those who did not volunteer. This included sicknesses like heart attack, cancer or stroke. One study, done in 1995, had a surprising result. It found that volunteering often reduced an older adult’s chance of dying by 44%.

Voice 2

But why would this be? Scientists are researching many possible causes. They want to answer this question.

Voice 1

One possible cause is an increase in antibodies. Antibodies are made by the body to fight against disease. One study showed a strong link between showing kindness to other people and an increase in antibodies. The body produces more antibodies after an act of kindness. This increase in antibodies can last nearly an hour after the act of kindness is finished. Scientists think these antibodies might have an effect on long term health. However, antibodies are not the only possible cause.

Voice 2

Another possible cause is an increase in a chemical that fights the effects of stress or pressure from life. Normally, the body produces chemicals when stressed. Over time, these stress chemicals can lead to many diseases, such as high blood pressure and heart disease. But scientists have found a link between being kind to people and an increase in the chemical oxytocin. Oxytocin is a chemical produced in the brain. It reduces many of the harmful chemicals the body produces under stress.

Voice 1

There is another positive change in the body that scientists have found in many studies.  Doing kind acts also releases endorphins in a person’s brain. Endorphins are the body’s natural drug. They reduce pain and produce pleasant emotions. Negative emotions can lead to poor health. When a person feels good more often, they are likely to have better health.

Voice 2

Health and long life are just two positive effects of doing good. Researchers believe that doing kind acts can also help people perform better in life.

Voice 1

In 2010, three studies were done by Harvard University scientist, Kurt Gray. The studies tested to see if kindness had any effect on physical strength. They found that it did. People were stronger while they helped other people. They worked harder, too. In a study report, Gray said,

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“Doing good gives people the strength to act more effectively and better achieve their goals.”

Voice 2

Science is still discovering positive effects from acts of kindness. This idea is new to the world of science, but not to the world of faith. For thousands of years, religions have encouraged people to love and care for those around them.

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In the Christian faith, God promises to bless the people who dare for other people in need. Proverbs is a list of wise saying in the Christian Bible. One of these sayings is, “The person who blesses other people is richly blessed; those people who help other people are helped themselves.”

Voice 2

For now, researchers are still working to understand the science of doing good. But there is one thing they do know from all of the evidence. Doing good things for other people is good for you, too.

Voice 1

Why do you do good things for other people? Do you feel better when you are kind? Do you think it helps your health? How does your religion affect how you treat others? You can email your thoughts to radio@radioenglish.net

Voice 2

The writer of this program was Ann Wilds. The producer was Mark Drenth. The voices you heard were from the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can find our programs on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Doing Good is Good for You’.

Voice 2

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

What is the good result of an act of kindness? Do you feel better when you are kind? Do you think it helps your health?

Join the discussion

29 comments
  • Yes, result its positive , the kindness its good for healthy on the human , and the kindness thing great to good live

  • For the good to have a moral value, it cannot become the means to achieve a goal. If I do good for a purpose, the goal becomes more important than the good and the good from an end becomes a means to achieve that goal. Good must be done because it is good and there can be no other purpose, only in this way do I position myself as a moral subject and can I give dignity to myself. No reward for good of any kind is to be expected. Volunteers who do good to feel better or to receive a thank you, do an activity similar to any other physical activity that is good for themselves and others but which does not concern morals. That repaying evil with good gives advantages is a truth as simple as it is difficult to implement. Heads of state and government who should be a guide and help to the people repeat words of hatred and revenge. Using force to fight evil is not the only solution and is almost never the best solution. To resolve conflicts it is also necessary to understand the reasons of others. What is good for some is bad for others and vice versa. Diplomacy serves to reconcile the opposing reasons without the use of force. The use of force is the prevailing solution of the primitives, especially those of today. The borders of a state have changed many times, because they are not eternal, like nothing in this world is eternal. The spirit of the world has guided history and will continue to do so.

  • Do the good thing for people will make me bless. When I did it and receive their smile or thankless that make me happiness too. I believe it helpful for health because you will receive the thing you give. That I learn form my religion, I talk to myself have to remember and make it when I have chance. Hope the people can doing good thing also help themself too. Thank Spotlight for this topic.

  • In my opinion , the kindness it will help person a lot the peoples want spend more time with person who behavi good and if this person faced any problems they will run to help her/ his , kind person will never feel lonely I think is good choice to be kind person

  • I think kindness is like a agreeable weather. We enjoy helping to other people, we enjoy being kind, we enjoy to breathing the agreeable weather. In fact, It isn’t important that we will have good results or not. We should doing good without any expectation. Maybe they will be happier or they laughing and it is our good result. But even, I don’t want any laugh for doing good for people.
    Goodness doesn’t need to any feedback.

  • As you mentioned doing good is good for people they give help, God promises to bless the people who who care for other people in need and the holy Quran and other holy books said that should to give the help always , and yes when I be kind I feel better and Happy, yes give help for people make us more health

  • When I act good in the other people,I feel happy abd grateful for Allah because help me for this doing and good things that Allah gave me .So my experiences as volunteer is the best ever .Also the doing good and helping other people,I noticed helping me to stive my goals and trying to achieve it.
    I think, the good doing increase the health.

  • Hello everyone, I am Huy from Vietnam.
    I just want to share my experience when doing something good. I always meet the old lady who sells lottery tickets on the street when I go to work in the morning (It is very common for Vietnamese people to see poor people sell lottery tickets)
    Every week, I give her the amount of money that she can buy meals or medicines. I know this is not much but I feel really good after doing it and I don’t know exactly if it helps my health or not. However, I know for sure that I feel relieved and want to everything I can in my power to help the other people who have the same situation like this.

  • Doing good things for people will make me proud and happy. When I do it and receive their smile or their ungratefulness that also makes me happy. I think it is useful for health because you will receive what you give. I am happy to make people happy since no one knows if they are going through a bad time. I hope people can do something good and also help themselves.

  • doing good to people will make us blessed because we are helping other people who need our help or someone else’s help to get some good advice that they can use in their daily life to make their life happier

  • Engaging in acts of kindness can bring a feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction. It makes me feel better emotionally when I am kind to others. I believe that practicing kindness can have positive effects on mental well-being and help reduce stress levels. I am also sure that acts of kindness can indirectly benefit health by promoting positive emotions and social connections.

  • Yes, my religion is islam and encourages doing good in your life is good for you in your life now and other life after death and our god tell us is his kitaab that we must give money and other needs to the poor people who can’t afford their needs.
    Scientists in your country discover this in last 100 years but our religion and other religion before islam is all of them telling us we must do good things in our life.
    And in my opinion yes i love doing good things and i will be volunteer in simple things when i will grow and make develop financially.

  • When I do good things for others that’s makes me happy and I feel better when I kind and
    Yeah l believe doing good is good for you It is a religious belief actually ( when you do good things you will have a good life and good health also in my religion, we believe if you help someone who needs help god will send someone to help you when you need, in short, we believe on Carma of action either goods or bad thing )

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