How Kindness Impacts Your Happiness

SC! - Blog

There are many reasons why we, as humans, can be driven to give and provide for friends, loved ones and strangers. However, there is one type of kindness that is proven to give you a little extra boost to your day.

There are two types of giving:

Strategic giving:  the act of providing kind service to improve one's situation, whether it be reputation, public good or personal gain.

Altruistic giving: A good deed that is done with no expectation in return.

Do you ever get a warm fuzzy feeling when you do something nice, "just because"? That is altruistic giving. It turns out that selfless generosity (say, buying coffee for a stranger on the sly) affects the giver just as much as the receiver! 

In a recent neuroimage study from The University of Sussex, researchers looked at fMRI scans to see what happened in the brains of those who chose to act out of altruism and strategic kindness. Interestingly, they found that, while both types of acts lit up the reward center of the brain, altruism significantly affected the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex.

In plain English: this suggests that when one engages in altruistic giving, the giver receives addicting satisfaction from the sheer act of giving. It elevates the mood, increases motivation and drives to engage in more kindness, thus placing you in a never-ending cycle of happiness and do-gooding.

How are you planning to be more kind in 2019? Here is a list of suggested random acts of kindness that will brighten someone's day -- and your own!

10 random acts of kindness to add to your day:

1. Buy coffee for someone ahead of you in the drive-through.

2. Give a compliment to a passerby on the street.

3.  Donate toys and books to a children's hospital or a school.

4. Leave cold bottles of water for your mailman in the summer, or catch them at the door with a hot chocolate in the winter.

5. Write a letter to a friend -- by hand! -- just to say hello.

6. Visit a nursing home and get to know the residents. 

7. Volunteer for your favorite charity or non-profit organization and support their hard work.

8. Donate clothes and houseware that you aren't using anymore. 

9. Leave a short note for your server underneath your tip at a restaurant.

10. Say "thank you for all you do" to people in your life. Your boss, your co-workers, your doctor, your friends, and family. 

How will you be adding kindness into your daily habits in 2019?

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Peggy Sullivan