One lesson we are always taught from birth is being polite to those around us. Being polite isn’t just about saying please and thank you, it also includes the interactions we have with others and the environment around us. And here you thought an apple a day was the trick! Not only does courteousness create a better society to live in, it can also have positive impacts on your own health, keeping you out of the urgent care and enjoying your life.
Being polite to those around you can raise your self-esteem and make you feel better about yourself. Having a higher self-esteem can also fight off depression and anxiety. This is especially true for seniors. A recent study on people 60 and older found that those with higher self-esteem had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Raising self-esteem is one way to prevent health problems that may occur later in life.
Being polite to friends and family can sometimes be a struggle. We are around these people more than anyone else and they usually see us at our worst. However, it’s important to make sure they see us at our best as well. Close friendships can improve self-confidence, lower stress, and boost your happiness. Not only that, close friendships can also help us avoid or quit unhealthy lifestyle habits such as lack of exercise or smoking.
Besides friends and family, we also spend a vast amount of our time surrounded by our co-workers. Being polite to co-workers not only creates a better work environment, it can also help you live longer. Tel Aviv University researchers studied the social interactions of workers and their colleagues over a 20 year period. They found that workers who felt no support from their colleagues were 2.4 times more likely to die than those with positive relationships.
A Cleaner World
Being polite isn’t just exclusive to other people. Being courteous also means helping out the environment. Throwing away your trash instead of littering can help save the economy $11.5 billion dollars every year. Simply throwing away one candy wrapper in the trashcan instead of on the ground saves 23 cents, and creates a cleaner world to live in.
A Healthier Home
If your mother always told you to remove your shoes when you entered the house, she wasn’t just trying to remind you about being polite, she was also trying to keep the house free of germs. A study at the University of Arizona found that the average shoe has 421,000 types of bacteria on the bottom. This includes bacteria known to cause meningitis, bloodstream infections, and respiratory tract infections.
Sometimes, we get so caught up on the things going on around us that we tend to forget the simple manners taught to us as children. However, you should remember that the next time you hold the door open for someone, you’re not only helping him or her, you’re helping your own health as well.