Very few men appreciate being known as “the nice guy” and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “Yeah, he or she is nice, but maybe too nice.”
When I Googled “Is being nice a good thing” the top four results were “Why I quit Being Nice – Storyline Blog”, “How to break the ‘Nice Guy’ Steretoype: 7 Steps” – wikihow, “Being a nice guy is not a good thing. – Yahoo Answers” and “Stop Being Nice All the Time and Start Embracing Your Inner B*%ch – Jezebel.”
Although being nice has an equally negative association as it does a positive, before you go to the dark side, you must understand why it’s so great to be nice. Demonstrating kindness to someone can make their whole day better. Even the smallest of gestures, such as a smile, holding the door, or a friendly hello can make someone’s day turn from bad to good. Being nice doesn’t just have positive impacts on the people you are being nice to but it’s also good for you! Being nice allows for new conversations, new friendships, and new experiences and opportunities.
Based on a Huffington Post article by Lindsay Holmes, here are 5 reasons why being nice is actually good for you combined with our research and reasons why we here at TRACOM couldn’t agree more.
- “It can help you live longer.” ABCNews reported that studies have shown everyone from the elderly to alcoholics to people living with AIDS saw their health improve if they did volunteer work. Charitable endeavors are a great way to practice “being nice.” Giving back is in fact one of the strategies for developing resiliency in TRACOM’s Resiliency Model. Our research at TRACOM tells us that the act of giving has profound effects on our health and longevity. In one large-scale study, researchers tracked 1,000 adults in the U.S. and found that every major stressful life event increased an individual’s risk of dying by 30%. However, those who spent time helping and caring for others showed no stress-related increase in dying. Giving and caring generate resilience.
- “We’re happier when we’re kind.” As Mark Twain said, “The best way to cheer yourself up, is to try to cheer somebody else up.” “Giver burnout” is a myth, as long as you give in ways that utilize your unique strengths and allow you to see results of your efforts. We’ve found that giving helps us build stronger social connections, distracts us from our own problems, and helps us feel better about ourselves and valued by others and research shows that giving adds meaning to our lives.
- “It may be the key to success.” Huffpost’s Holmes says “It pays to be kind: Those who are compassionate and better in-tune with other people’s emotions may be more successful at work. ‘People trust you more, they have better interactions with you, you even get paid better,’ Dacher Keltner, a professor at the University of California-Berkeley and co-director of the Greater Good Science Center, told ABC News. Not a bad trade-off.”
- “It will bring you less stress.” The benefits of giving are apparent even on a neurological level. When people give support to others in pain, they experience increased activity in reward regions of the brain and also show a decrease in amygdala activity which leads to a reduction in stress. Also, research shows that the simple act of smiling (or even better, laughing) improve people’s moods and immunity to stress.
- “It just feels good.” Holmes writes, “Practicing kindness also has a multitude of feel-good benefits, according to clinical psychologist Lara Honos-Webb, Ph.D. ‘When we help others and do kind acts, it causes our brain to release endorphins, the chemicals that give us feelings of fervor and high spirits — similar to a ‘runner’s high,’ she writes in a Psychology Today blog. ‘Doing something nice for someone also gives the brain a serotonin boost, the chemical that gives us that feeling of satisfaction and well-being.’”