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Home > Medical Services > Employee Assistance Program (EAP) > Employee Resources & Support > EAP Educational Articles > The Positive Effects of Love and Kindness
In January, we celebrated the legacy of a man who fought for love, equality and justice, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A lot has changed since August of 1963 when Dr. King gave his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech… but a lot has not. There are still countless racial injustices today.
Often we need to look within ourselves to make real change. What can we do to help promote equality? Most are familiar with the notion, "love thy neighbor as thyself." What Martin Luther King was fighting for was love. He believed real change starts within the community; loving your community and the people in it.
Loving your neighbor is not only the right thing to do, but it’s good for you. Evidence shows that practicing altruism and showing compassion can elicit the production of oxytocin and dopamine. These are the love and “feel good” hormones often associated with emotional warmth and pleasure. This means that loving your neighbor not only benefits your neighbor, it benefits your mental health.
Kindness can have a positive effect on the health of your body as well. While increasing self-esteem and empathy and improving your mood, it can also decrease your blood pressure as well as cortisol – the stress hormone. Don’t forget to also love yourself – kindness to oneself can offer the same benefits as kindness to others.
Martin Luther King urged people to speak up and fight against injustice. As Dr. King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
If you struggle to maintain a positive attitude toward yourself or others, contact Mercy EAP at at (319) 398-6694.