Did you know that research shows that altruistic people tend to be happier? It’s true! People who do volunteering and/or do daily acts of kindness report higher levels of happiness. The more service they give, the higher their happiness level. Webster describes altruistic people as those who are unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others.
Because altruism has such a positive effect, even an upward spiraling effect on the giver, life coaches and positive psychology practitioners encourage their clients to use altruism as a positive intervention. It works great, especially for those who feel “stuck” in a negative state. Often when people are feeling negative, they are turned inward and are somewhat self-centered in their thinking and feeling. Performing an act of kindness gets people into an “other centered” way of thinking. This increases their positive emotions and gives them a feeling of satisfaction in knowing that they make a valuable contribution in the lives of others and in the world in general.
Take the Act of Kindness Challenge: The next time you’re having a good day, OR the next time you’re feeling down, think of someone who could benefit from an act of kindness. You can support them with a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, an act of service, spending time with them, a genuine friendship and/or even just a warm and welcoming smile. There’s no end to the possibilities for altruistic gestures. Acts of kindness can be large or small, spontaneous, or planned. When you choose to make altruism a way of life, you’ll find a lifetime of joy for you and for those around you because, when it comes to daily acts of kindness, the little things are really the BIG things!