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The Mutual Benefits Of Kindness

Volunteers from the Baltimore Hunger Project pass out food to people in need outside of Padonia International Elementary school on December 4, 2020 in Cockeysville, Maryland. (OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
Volunteers from the Baltimore Hunger Project pass out food to people in need outside of Padonia International Elementary school on December 4, 2020 in Cockeysville, Maryland. (OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

This rebroadcast originally aired on December 17, 2020.


Christine Sheil’s mother suffered from dementia. To be closer to her mom, Christine volunteered to play music in her mother’s assisted living facility. Christine says being kind to others actually helped her. So she kept volunteering. We explore the science behind the mutual benefits of kindness.  

Guests

Christine Sheil, musician. She’s volunteered at the Vineland Veterans Memorial Home for the past 11 years.

Nancy Sin, assistant professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. Her research focuses on biological and behavioral pathways that link well-being and stress to health.

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst. (@JackBeattyNPR)

Also Featured

Allyson Cook, volunteer at the Get Connected program and a graduate student at Dalhousie University.

Charlotte Burns, resident at Northwood’s Halifax campus, a long-term care home in Canada.

From The Reading List

The Gerontologist: “Helping Amid the Pandemic: Daily Affective and Social Implications of COVID-19-Related Prosocial Activities” — “The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may have prompted more engagement in prosocial activities, such as volunteering and support transactions. The day-to-day affective and social implications of these activities for adults of different ages are unknown.”

Cherry Hill Courier-Post: “‘This is the way I serve my country’: South Jersey volunteers offer hope this holiday season” — “Now more than ever, people are in need. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every industry across this country, and has had a ripple effect on job loss.”

Washington Post: “Volunteering can give kids purpose in uncertain times — and there are still ways to do it” — “When the pandemic hit in March, Devon Anderson and her three children — ages 7, 9 and 12 — abruptly stopped volunteering at their local Humane Society in Ohio. ‘We miss our little four-legged friends,’ Anderson says.”

BBC News: “Why being kind to others is good for your health” — “Newspapers started writing about Betty Lowe when she was 96 years old. Despite being long past retirement age, she was still volunteering at a cafe at Salford Royal Hospital in Greater Manchester, UK, serving coffee, washing dishes and chatting to patients.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.