“Will acts of kindness and generosity make us happier? Do heart-directed altruistic acts depend on the sincere intention behind them? Wh
en we act on behalf of other people, research shows we feel better and experience less stress.
Dr. J. Andrew Armour, a leading neuro¬cardiologist on HeartMath Institute’s Scientific Advisory Board, has found the heart contains cells that synthesize and release hormones such as epinephrine (adrenaline) and dopamine, among others. It was discovered that the heart also secretes oxytocin, commonly referred to as the “love” or “bonding” hormone. Remarkably, concentrations of oxytocin produced in the heart may be as high as those produced by the brain. When you are altruistic – lending a helping hand – your oxytocin level goes up, which helps relieve your stress. Altruistic behavior also may trigger the brain’s reward circuitry – the feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins. However, the hormonal benefits of the good deed depend on the genuine intent of the act of altruism.”
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