Acts of Kindness Can Make You Happier
by Ann Chiappetta
I am a believer in performing random acts of kindness, because when you do good, you feel good. Now social psychologists are proving it. According to an article posted in the February 26, 2018 edition of The Conversation, a positive act can indeed promote positive emotions and improve a sense of well-being. In fact, a researcher found that just one random act per week can significantly increase how we feel.
According to Dr. Robin Banerjee, a developmental psychologist from the University of Sussex, generosity boosts reward mechanisms in the brain. The article highlights five behaviors that contribute to promoting good feelings.
The first is smiling and this includes laughter; both are contagious, triggering the pleasure center in the brain.
The second is doing something to help someone else feel better or doing the right thing, such as being involved in a humanitarian act, improves our mood and outlook. Showing empathy provides a common cause and improves our mood.
The third way is making connections with others when offering an act of kindness. Think of the cup of coffee you bought a friend or the time your neighbor helped you bring in groceries.
The fourth is promoting a kind identity. Research has shown that even children understand that being kind makes us feel good.
The last one is attributed to reciprocity: paying it forward. Being kind improves your mood and a positive mood improves acts of kindness. Some say it is this cycle of positive regard that is the most satisfying of all. I know that during the pandemic earlier in the year, our local community demonstrated we could come together and pay it forward. It is something good that makes us feel good.
About the Author
Ann Chiappetta M.S. is an author and poet, making meaningful connections with others through writing. Ann’s nonfiction essays have been printed in Dialogue magazine, among others. Her poems are often featured in Poesis, The Pangolin Review, and Magnets and Ladders. Her poetry is also included in Breath and Shadow’s 2016 debut anthology, Dozen: The Best of Breath and Shadow. Her books—a poetry collection Upwelling: Poems, a memoir Follow Your Dog a Story of Love and Trust, Words of Life: Poems and Essays, and a short story collection A String of Stories From the Heart to the Future—are available in both e book and print formats from Amazon. Visit her site http://www.annchiappetta.com/ to learn more about her work.