How can that be? Let me explain how giving makes you happier and healthier when you do it every day. Yes, the key to the healthier and happier self, is small acts of giving EVERY DAY, not just randomly a few times a year. But lets tackle the why happy, what small acts of giving means, and review the latest research on the correlation between kindness/giving and happiness. New research is pointing to the need for all of us to do one small act of giving to increase and maintain our happiness and personal well-being.
When we are happy so many aspects of our lives are affected. We have better and more satisfying relationships with friends, family and ourselves. Our daily experiences are more positive, our emotions lean to the positive with more feelings of joy, pleasure and sheer delight. We have an increased sense of well-being and over all life satisfaction. The things that might have bothered us before, roll off our backs! Being happy makes us more extroverted, more agreeable, nervousness decreases, and we feel less uptight. We are open to experiences and embrace them happily!
When we are happy, our feelings of gratitude increase exponentially. We feel grateful for the things we do have, the time we do have, the experiences thrown our way. We have a better shield to absorb what life throws at us, which it does all the time. We feel like we are walking on the sunny side of the street most of the time.
We all know this, we know that being happier is a better state of being, but many of us just don’t know how to get there. The journey of happiness is what is hard, or seems achievable. But it is achievable when you have a path to get there.
Research into how kindness effects happiness has increased in the last few years. In 2010 when we started our journey with small acts of giving, there is will research conducted in this field. Thankfully, our mission has more evidence that we are on the right path to increase global happiness one give at a time. Our daily giving strategy is also supported. Here is some of the latest research that supports our mission. We want to thank researchers for diving into this topic and publishing their papers. Read this article from the Greater Good and another research paper that measures the need to continue daily acts of giving.
Doing acts of giving increases happiness
Doing DAILY acts of giving increases happiness even more
Doing acts of giving to family, friends and strangers increases our happiness
Observing acts of giving completed by others increases our happiness, and motivates us to give
Giving every day was stressed in the research to experience the POSITIVE FEEDBACK LOOP. The positive feedback loop is this – the happier you feel, the more inclined you are to continue to give. Lara Akin at the University of British Columbia has tested this theory through her research. I think we can say we have all experienced this. If we are feeling sad, unhappy, or just off, we are not open to doing something new, nor get out there and do a give. It is hard to motivate ourselves to go for a walk in the park and pick up one small bag of garbage, or call a friend to say hey, or write a gratitude note and sent it off to someone. But if you just take that step to start giving, as hard as it feels today, you will feel happier, and be motivated to do another small give the next day.
One piece of research looked at people that did not give at all, people who gave once a day and a final group of people that gave three times a day. Those who did not give did not report an increase in well-being or happiness. Those who gave once a day did report increased happiness and well-being. Those who gave three times a day reported even more happiness and a greater sense of well-being. Think about a small act of giving that has you smile at people on the street when you walk to school and back, or to work and back. Opening doors for not just one person but many people during the day is more than one act of giving and will keep you happy through out the day. Giving various times through out the day does not have to be a chore, it is easy to do. Mix it up if you wish. Buy a person a coffee, send a quick note of gratitude to a friend or colleague on text message and like a local charity or local business on social media. These three one minute gives done throughout the day will increase your happiness.
Have a look at the research we have posted that shows happiness makes us healthier. A DAILY DOSE OF HAPPINESS will increase our happy neurotransmitters and decrease the hormones that create a stress response in our body. Sure some people could work out more, could eat better, and adjust habits that increase our health, but a critical mass of research has provided what might be the most basic and irrefutable argument in favor of happiness: Happiness and good health go hand-in-hand. Indeed, scientific studies have been finding that happiness can make our hearts healthier, our immune systems stronger, and our lives longer.
Our 365give Challenge supports the latest research on well-being and happiness. Why not try it for a week, or a month and test for yourself how your personal happiness and those around you increases. Your acts of giving will not only make you happier but also increase the happiness of those who witness your give. It will inspire others to try giving every day and increase their happiness as well. This is the ripple that we are witnessing with our members every day!
Sign up for your free 365give membership to access our giving resources and get you on the road to increased happiness and well-being. If you are looking for virtual giving ideas, we have those as well! Just try it and see how your life changes for the better!