They say kindness is contagious. The more nice things you do for others, the more that makes others prone to do the same. That said, what goes around comes around — performing random acts of kindness upon others can make you happier, too, over the long haul.
“People who engage in kind acts become happier over time,” says Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside. “When you are kind to others, you feel good as a person—more moral, optimistic and positive.”
So, where do you start? Here are some ideas on ways you can make someone’s day that much better — and yours as well.
Treat the next person in line -
Standing in line for your lunch or sitting in a drive-through? Buy something for the person in line behind you. Knowing that you will make a stranger’s day better can help you have a better day, too, and likely make them pass on another act of kindness to someone else. If you’re feeling extra generous, you can buy multiple people’s orders.
Volunteer – You can choose to volunteer at a food bank, a neighborhood cleanup, or you can even be a chaperone on your child’s trip. No matter where you choose to volunteer your time, you’re bound to feel great, and help others feel the same for donating your time to them. In fact, science proves this to be true.
“People who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness,” says Mark Snyder, a psychologist and head of the Center for the Study of the Individual and Society at the University of Minnesota. ”All of these things go up as their feelings of social connectedness goes up, which in reality, it does. It also improves their health and even their longevity.”
Leave money in random places - For example, place change a gumball dispenser so the next person who uses it gets it free. Or tape a dollar or two to the office vending machine with a note stating that “The next snack’s on me!” Whoever is next to purchase their snack will no doubt be put in a better mood, and you’ll feel better knowing you helped someone with just a few bucks and some creativity.
Don’t skimp on compliments - It’s the easiest way to brighten someone’s day, and doesn’t cost you a thing, nor requires a lot of effort. If you can find something to compliment — whether it’s someone’s outfit, their new haircut, how well their presentation went — then let that person know. Even the smallest comments of praise can make someone smile, and make you feel better about your own self.
Give thanks - Community life-saving professionals, like police officers and fire fighters, often don’t get the thanks they deserve. It’s important to take a moment and think about all they’ve done in the past and present, and tell them how appreciative you are of their work, be it a phone call, letter or email. These people risk their lives to save others every day, and offering a simple “thanks” can mean all the difference. In addition, you can also thank your family, friends and other loved ones if they’ve recently done something you’re grateful for.
Kindness really is contagious, after all so get out there today and make a positive difference.
This article is presented by Perkins Motors in Colorado Springs, Colorado.