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Does being kind make you happy

does kindness make you happy
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“What goes around comes around”

It’s a saying normally used in response to negative actions where we bask in the knowledge that a person who has wronged us will eventually get their comeuppance.  But does it work the other way round?  Are people who do us good turns rewarded for their actions?Does being kind make you happy?  It would seem the answer to this is a resounding yes.

Boost your mood

Being kind to each other is by no means a new concept – you just need to open a copy of The Bible to see how far back it goes – but in recent years the message seems to have taken on a new lease of life.  All over the internet calls are put out encouraging others to commit Random Acts of Kindness, promoting a knock-on effect whereby the beneficiary pays it forward to someone else.  Whether it’s sending flowers for no special occasion, putting your neighbours’ bin out for them or paying someone a sincere compliment (think of Audrey Hepburn’s favourite beauty tip; “For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.”), the idea is that it brightens the recipient’s day while at the same time giving your own mood a boost too.  The theory is that being kind to someone else helps you feel good about yourself and makes you both feel happier.

As well as increasing happiness levels from a spiritual perspective, there is plenty of mental and physical health benefits associated with acting through kindness.  The Mental Health Foundation encourages people to be kind to others as a method of helping themselves, claiming it improves confidence, reduces stress levels, decreases feelings of anger and hostility, promotes a sense of belonging and even helps us live longer.  That is quite a list – but why does helping others do us so much good?

does kindness make you happy

Stay positive

Positive behaviour leads to a positive mood.  When we help people the body releases endorphins that the brain associates with happiness.  This is often referred to as a ‘helper’s high’.  By committing acts of kindness, random or otherwise, we enhance positive emotions, which in turn leads us to behave in a positive manner.  This chain reaction gains momentum not only within yourself but also amongst people you have shown kindness to.  Givers, receivers and observers all gain a boost in happiness and are likely to pass on a good deed of their own, starting a new cycle.

Set some boundaries

However, there is a limit to just how many acts of kindness you can achieve before it has a detrimental effect.  Being generous with time and money is one thing but having to make huge sacrifices is quite another.  If you are in a situation where someone is relying on you to do too much for them consider asking for help before you start to feel overwhelmed.  Not only will you feel better in yourself, the other person will feel like less of a burden and you will be allowing someone to show you kindness by helping you out – and that will make them happier too!

 

 

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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