One act of random kindness at a time makes you happier

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One act of random kindness at a time won’t exactly make the news. Yet when you start practising kindness on a daily basis, it will make a big difference to your overall wellbeing.

Materialism doesn’t make you happy

As Madonna famously sings: “We are living in a material world”, and materialism is fed to you by the media as a means of finding happiness. However, there is plenty of research that proves that consumption, ie buying stuff and owning stuff really doesn’t make us happy.

Your individual happiness level tends to be quite stable over time

There are a lot of studies out there that suggest that your individual happiness level is determined more by your genetics than by your circumstances. The idea is that you have a kind of inbuilt well-being set-point, which you tend to return to despite the ups and downs of your personal journey, and no matter how much you consume in terms of material goods.

Buying nice things doesn’t make you happy in the long-term

Spending money on awesome stuff and achieving material goals that you’d think would make you truly happy, doesn’t form the basis for a good life. For example, winning a lot of money, getting a big raise, buying your dream house or car, and spending your money on goods and services, will make you happy for a short time. But after a while, and not very long at that, you’ll return to your personal happiness set-point.

Bad experiences don’t necessarily affect your happiness level in the long term

Interestingly, the difficult things in life also affect you only in the short term. When something bad happens, it makes you unhappy for a while, but most people recover in time and return to a similar baseline of personal happiness. Some people even point to the painful experience as being the trajectory for personal growth and change that actually led to greater happiness.

Your personal happiness might be set, but your daily happiness is up to you

You might find the theory that you have an overall happiness set-point to be quite comforting. Or not. Either way, the big life-changing events that happen to everyone, are out of your control. So it’s nice to know that there is one specific aspect of your daily well-being, and daily life satisfaction, that is well within your control.

Practising one act of random kindness at a time leads to happiness and better health

Making the decision to practice acts of kindness towards others has been proven to make you happier on a daily basis. Intentional acts of kindness directly benefit your emotional well-being by making you feel good about yourself, making you feel part of your community, and helping you to find meaning in your life. Acts of kindness also improve your physical wellbeing by increasing your level of the ‘love hormone’ (oxytocin) and reducing the ‘stress hormone’ (cortisol).

Your one act of random kindness at a time adds up, and you should keep count

Taking the time to think about and count up your acts of kindness may seem self-indulgent, but research shows that doing this makes the whole practice even more beneficial. Reflecting on the things you did in service of others, makes you feel even better, and also makes you more likely to keep it up.

Blue-footed Booby Success Formula: How to build a daily practice of one act of random kindness at a time to benefit yourself and others

  1. Make the decision to practice one act of random kindness at a time towards others (It’s ok to set reminders on your phone to help you remember)
  2. Do the small and large kind things that crop up in your day, one at a time
  3. Count up your kind acts at the end of the day
  4. Add up your kind acts at the end of the week
  5. Keep up the good work!

It often feels like this is an unkind world, yet I truly believe that many people already offer many acts of kindness to others, whether family, friends, acquaintances, or strangers. Yet perhaps not many realize the benefits of adding up that one act of random kindness at a time.

Please join this tribe of tender-hearted, altruistic boobies and practice (even more) kindness. Help to spread the word by sharing this article.