If you are kind, can it really make you happier? Research projects have shown this is indeed the case. In one interesting study conducted by the Harvard Business School and the University of British Columbia, participants were asked to recall spending a small sum of money either on themselves or to help someone in need. Those who donated that sum to charity or as a gift remembered being much happier than when they had spent the money on themselves.
Researchers also found that once people got into the loop of being kind which was followed by a feeling of happiness, then they were more likely to do lots of other acts. It is a win-win situation. Psychologists call this the ‘helper’s high’. The exact biological process which links positive emotions to physical and mental well being is not fully understood yet. But the results are there for all to see! So, if you want to feel happier, try some of these 30 ways of being kind. The more variety, the better.
1. Telephone a lonely person.
There is always one person in your group of acquaintances who is lonely and isolated. Try calling him or her, every now and again.
2. Hold the door open.
No matter who it is, hold the door open.
3. Change the toner or paper in the photocopier.
The next time you see a colleague swearing because the toner or paper runs out, step up to the plate. Do it with a pleasant smile and you have new fan.
4. Buy someone a coffee.
When you go to the coffee machine and see a colleague there, offer to buy her a coffee. If you are going to the water cooler, try offering to get someone else a cup of water while you’re on your way.
5. Help a disabled person.
Offer to push a wheelchair, help them across the street or fetch their medicines.
6. Any small change?
When you see all those coins which are a real nuisance, pop them into the next beggar’s baseball cap.
7. Offer to do the shopping.
Maybe there is an elderly person in your condo or someone who has had an accident. Offer to do the shopping.
8. Offer your place in the supermarket queue.
When you see someone getting anxious in the queue, let them go first.
9. Driving with kindness.
Lots of opportunities here. Waving a pedestrian across the street or stopping to let a car park.
10. Pay a few compliments.
Let your partner know how great they look today. Compliment a colleague or a friend on their new outfit.
11. Smile more often.
Try walking down a corridor at work and smile all the way there. You might be surprised at how many smiles you get back. It is infectious!
12. Express your gratitude.
Saying “thank you” and “please” are like the oil that lubricates the engine of human interaction. Works every time!
13. Reach out to a person in need.
Do you know someone who is ill or in hospital? Reach out by choosing one of these:
- Send them a text message
- Phone them
- Send flowers
- Send a card
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~Plato
14. Talk to a shy person.
Have you ever noticed how shy people struggle at social gatherings? Try a little act of kindness just by talking to them. You could be surprised at what you discover.
15. Donate to a disaster fund.
The next time you see a catastrophe on TV, note the charity donation number and send the SMS.
16. Teach your kids kindness.
If you are a parent or work with young people in a youth organization or at a school, raise awareness about the needy. Encourage them to give away their old toys and books which are still in good condition.
17. Be a modern Johnny Appleseed.
Be inspired and plant a few trees/plants/bushes/flowers in the neglected areas of your neighborhood. Watch the video below.
18. Stop complaining for a week.
This is probably the kindest act of all! Spreading negativity drags people down. Concentrate on the positives for a week. You will be pleasantly surprised.
19. Grow your hair.
Did you know that there are charities that make wigs from real hair for children who have suffered from hair loss during cancer treatment? If you have hair, let it grow and donate it to one of these charities.
20. Help a needy driver.
If a driver is in trouble, pull over and offer your assistance by phoning for help or helping to change a tire.
21. Show affection.
Show people you love that you really mean it. A hug, a kiss, a gentle pat on the back or any sign of affection will be appreciated. If you want to give free hugs in the street, watch the video below. This has been watched by 75 million people!
22. Leave some money on the street.
Just a random act of kindness. Try leaving a banknote or a few coins on the street where a poor person can find them.
23. Invite someone to dinner.
Choose a co-worker or neighbour who you feel is rather lonely and offer them your hospitality.
24. Listen to someone who has a problem.
Being a good listener is a great sign that you can display empathy and warmth. Just listen and try not to interrupt with advice. There will be other opportunities for that.
“Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.”- George Sand
25. Help a co-worker
When you see a colleague in real difficulty because of a scary deadline, a tyrannical boss or because they are suffering bereavement, lend a helping hand.
26. Contact your local shelter or soup kitchen
Ask them what they need most for supporting the needy and homeless. It could be anything from running an errand, shopping or baking a cake for them.
27. Give up a parking space.
Soar above the desire to be the first to get that parking space.
28. Give away your favorite book.
You have read that book loads of times.Time to give it away. Leave it on the bus or train, with a note inside saying why you think it is a gem.
29. Send a depressed friend a funny video.
Laughter is a great tonic for depression. Choose your favorite funny video form YouTube and send the link by email.
30. Give flowers or food to an elderly neighbor.
Look at all the roses you have in the garden. Remember the leftover lasagne in the fridge? Pack them up and give them to an elderly neighbour.
Try to do one or two of these acts of kindness every week. Change it up each time. Look at what you get for a few acts of kindness. Your mental and physical health will improve. You are less likely to suffer from heart disease, blood pressure, stress, and depression. It’s a bargain- go for it!
“Life’s most persistent and nagging question is ‘What are you doing for others?'”- Martin Luther King Jr.
Featured photo credit: KIndness-Mark Twain/ BK via flickr.com