For a New Research Institute at UCLA, Kindness Is Key

Can benevolence make you healthier?

While driving in Los Angeles might inspire anything but a gesture of humanity, the city will become home to a first-of-its-kind interdisciplinary research institute on kindness … and ways it may promote wellness.The UCLA-based learning center will explore, for instance, how and why being nice to others reduces depression and the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

According to the Los Angeles Time, “Research by UCLA scientists already has shown that mindfulness and kindness actually alter the behavior of genes, turning down those that promote inflammation, which can lead to heart disease or certain cancers, and turning up the activity of genes that protect against infections.

“But the ultimate goal of the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute is to spread kindness and promote a more humane world. It will develop training tools to help practice kindness and spread them through online programs, public lectures, media outreach and a free app called UCLA Mindful, which already is available. A $20 million gift from the Bedari Foundation, established by philanthropists Jennifer and Matthew C. Harris, will provide seed funding for the institute’s research projects.

“’In the midst of current world politics, violence and strife, the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute seeks to be an antidote,’ said Darnell Hunt, dean of the UCLA division of social sciences, which will house the venture.”

You can read more about the institute and the science behind kindness here.


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