Can practicing kindness help make me happy?

Ronald Siegel
While the specific values and purposes you identify in your life may differ from time to time and from other people's, meaning is almost universally found in concern for others—the desire to reduce their suffering and improve their lives.

In an experiment at two Japanese colleges reported in The Journal of Happiness Studies, students were rated on happiness and gratitude at various intervals. Half the students were assigned to make a notation every time they were kind to someone, and to report the number of kind acts each day. The other half did not track their acts of kindness. The students who tracked their acts of kindness rated higher on happiness and gratefulness after the experiment, while the students who didn't keep count stayed about the same.

Every day for a week, make a note whenever you do something kind, whether large or small. Tally your daily totals. Did your acts of kindness increase during the week? Does counting your kindnesses make you feel any different? Happier? More grateful? If so, it's a win-win strategy you can use every day to improve your own life and the lives of others.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.