Thank-you cards = the ultimate symbol of politeness. (Photo: Getty Images)
If there’s one thing we can thank our mothers for, it’s their constant reminders to always be polite. Little did we know that this basic, common courtesy was more than just for keeping up appearances: The act of being polite can actually be good for you.
It turns out, partaking in basic forms of politeness has a multitude of benefits. Good manners can go a long way, and after reading about these fast-acting benefits, you’ll be saying your pleases & thank yous a bit more often!
A study published earlier this month in the journal Clinical Psychological Science found that people who partake in “prosocial behaviors,” such as holding the door open for someone or engaging in simple, friendly interactions, were found to have an increased feeling of positive mental health and a boosted mood level, even on extremely stressful days.
The authors of this study noted their “results suggest that even brief periods of supporting or helping others might help to mitigate the negative emotional effects of daily stress.” So, even small acts of politeness can give you a more relaxed disposition overall!
Related: 6 Ways to Hack Your Stress
2. You feel better about yourself
When you are nice to someone, it’s not just the receiver of the nice act who benefits — you get satisfaction from it, too. Clinical psychologist Lara Honos-Webb, PhD, confirms this “helper’s high” in a Psychology Today blog: “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,” she says. “Doing something nice for someone also gives the brain a serotonin boost, the chemical that gives you that feeling of satisfaction and well-being.”
3. It can lower blood pressure
Physical benefits have also been linked to these types of supportive social interactions. A study published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology found that people who offer social support to others have lower blood pressure than people who don’t. Maybe it’s the result of good karma or maybe it’s simply a side effect of stress reduction — either way, it’s a wonderful health boost for those hoping to keep their blood pressure levels low.
4. It could help you live longer
The ultimate reward for being polite? A longer life. The Corporation for National and Community Service came out with a collection of studies called “The Health Benefits of Volunteering,” which concluded that people who offer emotional support to others had lower mortality rates than those who do not.
So, what better time to start being polite than during the holiday season? After all, the holidays are all about the spirit of giving, and at the end of the day it’s a win-win for everyone involved!
Read This Next: 9 Ways You’re Being Rude Without Realizing It