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.
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. 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 dopamine and serotonin levels, and our happiness.
The list below gives you seven random acts you can try out this week. Most of them are free.
- 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.
Got any random acts of kindness ideas that work for you? Tell us.