Action for Happiness, the independent charity observes that positive emotions – like joy, interest, pride and gratitude – don’t just feel pleasant now – they also affect our long-term well-being. Research shows that experiencing positive emotions in a 3-to-1 ratio to negative ones leads to a tipping point beyond which we naturally become more resilient to adversity and better achieve things.
The science behind this shows that it activates the brain’s areas associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust when we give to others. Such altruistic behaviour releases endorphins in the brain and boosts happiness for the people we help and ourselves.
So, if you want to be happy, be kind.
Here are some simple ideas from Action for Happiness to try for yourself:
Kindness can be simple such as a smile, a thank-you or a word of encouragement. It doesn’t have to cost anything or take much time. What is important is that it’s an act of genuine care and thoughtfulness for another person.
Kind acts can be a spur of the moment, like when we notice someone in need. For example, we might give up our seat on the train or pick up and return someone’s glove when they drop it. Opportunities to be kind pop up all over the place – like handing on a newspaper we’ve finished reading, paying for someone’s coffee or passing on an unused ticket.
Kindness can bring civility to the workplace. It is not about being ‘soft’ or fudging issues. It is about dealing with others as you wish them to deal with you. When tempted to shoot down an idea in flames or criticise someone in public, stop and think about what it will achieve. If a correction is needed, do this in a constructive manner and with kindness. You will be surprised how even most difficult conversation can go better if you approach it compassionately.
Kind acts can be thought through in advance – planning to do something for a friend, neighbour or loved one or because we want to spread some daily joy. There are unlimited ways to be kind to others – we only need to keep your eyes open and pay attention to those around us to start seeing opportunities to help.
Remember: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted” – Aesop.
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Click here to read more and download the Action for Happiness Ten 10 Keys to Happier Living.