When I received a video of random acts of kindness, yesterday, I decided to post it on Mondanité’s Instagram page, as I felt that it would do good to people to see something this positive. This morning, I decided to dig further into the matter: what if being kind to others actually the recipe to happiness? Well, it might very well be…
THE SCIENCE OF HAPPINESS
Countless books and articles were written on the subject: what is it that makes happy people happy ? Cultivating kindness, it seems. Studies have indeed shown that people who volunteer or simply care for others on a consistent basis seem to be happier and less depressed. It is called the “Helper’s high”: putting the well-being of others before your own without expecting anything in return stimulates the reward centers of the brain. Feel-good chemicals flood the system, producing a sort of “high”, giving a boost to the giver’s health and happiness.
CREATE YOUR OWN ACTS OF KINDNESS
So if you are feeling depressed or down, have a try at this simple remedy: pay it forward ! Do something nice for someone else, and do not expect anything in return. Your mental well-being will be enhanced.
No need to do volunteering as part of an organized group; it can be as simple as reaching out to a colleague or classmate that looks lonely or is struggling with an issue. Or even giving a compliment, opening a door for someone. By doing so, you’ll experience even greater joy.
If I have convinced you to jump right into being a kinder, more helpful person, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- While driving, make room for the car trying to enter your lane.
- Let the person in line behind you at the supermarket with less items go first.
- Give a genuine compliment to a stranger in the elevator with you.
- Let go of a grudge and tell that person you forgive them.
- Be there for a friend having a tough time. Don’t try to fix it, just listen.
- Buy coffee for the person behind you in line at the coffee shop.
- Send a positive text message to 5 different people right now.