The Secret to Happiness
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Politics and Activism

The Secret to Happiness

Can being kind actually make you happy?

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The Secret to Happiness

I have noticed that there is a universal search for happiness. Where can you buy it? What job can help you obtain it? Can other people make you happy? Does a selfless act a day keep depression away? Recent studies suggest that being kind can increase one's happiness. 

A Great Britain research study had participants take a survey to measure overall life satisfaction. The 86 participants were divided into three groups - two groups were instructed to do one random act of kindness everyday for ten days and the third group was given no instruction. At the end of the ten days, the participants took the survey again. The results showed that the groups that actively practiced kindness had a significant increase in their overall life satisfaction and happiness. 

Kindness might have a longer, more profound effect on individuals than after a mere ten days. A second study conducted by Harvard Business School and the University of British Columbia asked 51 participants to recall a time they spend $100 on themselves or on someone else and rate their level of happiness. 

Shortly following, researchers gave $100 to each participant and asked them to either spend it on themselves or on someone else, based on which would make them happier. Their spending would remain anonymous to avoid attempts to appear more or less selfless. 

The study found that the individuals who remembered a time that they gave a gift to someone else felt happier and were more likely to spend the $100 on someone else. They felt that this increased their overall happiness and satisfaction. 

The researchers called this a "positive feedback loop" suggesting that when it comes to happiness and kindness, one encourages the other.

While some people are chasing the "American Dream," a career move, a significant other, they search for happiness. Imagine if their efforts were more focused on being kind to others. These kind acts do not have to be big deeds, nor are they limited to small acts. But genuine, selfless acts of kindness can boost your happiness and increase your overall satisfaction in life. Your perspective will transition and you will put a halt to your search for happiness in material items.

Do what you can, everyday, to make the world around you a little better. In return, you will be happier and healthier. It's the world's best kept secret.

"When you are kind to another person, your brain's pleasure and reward centers light up, as if you were the recipient of the good deed—not the giver." - Reno Makani

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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