Random acts of kindness make you happier. Science and religion agree. Earth’s major religions have been telling us for eons that doing good deeds is as good for us as for the people receiving the beneficence. Scientific studies now are supporting this view.
Basically, humans are chemistry experiments, who do things primarily because of the neurotransmitters we produce, like dopamine and serotonin. Both have been linked to happiness and other personality traits.
Random Acts Of Kindness
Health data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Center for Disease Control indicates that states with a high volunteer rate also have lower rates of mortality and incidences of heart disease. I know you’re saying, “but Harry, that doesn’t necessarily prove anything?” True. Wait for it. There’s more.
- A study from the Longitudinal Study of Aging shows that people who volunteer have lower mortality rates than those who don’t.
- Carnegie Mellon performed a study that found 200 hours of volunteer work per year correlated to lower blood pressure.
- Scientists in a 2013 study, found that adults over 50 who volunteered about four hours a week were 40 percent less likely to develop hypertension four years later than non-volunteers.
- In another study, participants who performed five new acts of kindness on one day per week over a six-week period experienced an increase in well-being, compared to control groups.
- Participants experienced so-called “helper’s high” in a study of 1,700 women volunteers. The euphoria was followed by a long-lasting feeling of calm. Researchers found that the women had increased levels of endorphins after their volunteering, which led to the feeling of euphoria.
- Humans, it once was thought, only did things when they got something back. Not true. Brain studies show that when we give money to what we consider good causes, the same region of the brain lights up as if we had received some pleasurable stimuli.
- The University of Wisconsin-Madison found that altruists in the office are more likely to be committed to their work and less likely to quit their jobs.
This data tells me that giving feels good, is good for your physical and mental health, and makes you happier, even at work. We can – and should – perform random acts of kindness daily to increase our happiness. The list below gives you numerous random acts you can try out this week. Most of them are free.
Random Acts Of Kindness Ideas
- Take a friend’s favorite quote or lyric, turn it into an image and give it to her. (Hint: use DesignFeed)
- Had a good retail or restaurant experience? Compliment the worker to his boss.
- Buy coffee for the person behind you in the coffee shop.
- Post a complimentary note on a friend’s Facebook timeline.
- Invite friends over who might be alone for a holiday.
- Give away household items for free using Craigslist
- If your parents are still living, call them. Right now.
- Thanks a soldier or a veteran for his/her service.
- Rake leaves for a neighbor.
- Visit folks at a retirement home.
Bonus Random Acts Of Kindness Ideas
- Take water or coffee to a police officer directing traffic.
- Get your kids or grandkids to draw pictures. Write notes on the back and hand deliver them to children in the local hospital.
- Put your neighbor’s trash and recycling cans away after they have been picked up.
- Buy something for the grocery clerk when you are checking out.
- Help someone load their groceries.
- Buy a gift card from your favorite coffee shop or restaurant and give it to a stranger.
- Write notes to your spouse, kids or grandkids and hide them in their drawers or under their pillows.
- Bake cookies or cupcakes for someone like the mail carrier, an elderly or sick neighbor, or your child’s teacher.
- Buy extra time on the meter as you are leaving your parking spot.
- Offer to keep a neighbor’s kids so the parents can have a night out.
- Save your coins all year, roll them and give them to someone who could use some extra cash.
- Sponsor a child from another country.
- Place sticky notes containing uplifting messages on the lockers in your kids’ school.
- Give a waiter or waitress an overly generous tip for their great service.
- Know someone who is having a hard time? Create a special appreciation day for him or her. Make posters with his or her photo on them. Write a proclamation explaining why the day has been created and all the good qualities the person has. Frame the proclamation.
- Send cards to sick children in the hospital via Cards for Hospitalized Kids. A good activity to do with kids and grandkids.
- Next time you are going to the store, call a busy neighbor or a sick relative to see if you can pick up anything for them.
- Are you an Amazon.com customer? Sign up for Amazon Smile, an Amazon-run website that will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.
- After a party, wedding or other event, donate the leftover flowers to a nursing home.
- Write notes to deployed military members through Operation Gratitude.
Got any random acts of kindness ideas? I asked my followers on Twitter and here is what they are saying: