Acts of kindness are a powerful tool to help you improve your mood and become a happier version of yourself. I truly believe the world will be a better place if we all intentionally and purposefully participate in kindness. Kindness not only towards others but to ourselves as well.
Kindness is a quality seen through an act, an attitude, or behaviour that includes generosity, consideration, warmth, and care towards ourselves and others. Kindness to me whispers: ‘You are important!’. I want you to pause for a moment and reflect on the concept of kindness and the meaning you attach to it:
- What does kindness mean to you?
- Is kindness important to you?
- How do you feel when others show kindness to you?
- How do you feel when you show kindness to yourself or others?
- When last did you enjoy the benefits of kindness in your everyday life?
- Do you purposefully and intentionally make time for kindness in your everyday life?
There exist a body of evidence illustrating the benefits of kindness on our mental health and well-being, especially on our mood. Research indicates that kindness makes you happy. Good deeds make people happy.
Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California dedicated her career to studying human happiness, what a meaningful and cool career! One of her research studies found that five random acts of kindness one day a week, for six weeks, can increase your happiness level by 42%.
Another research study published by Rowland and Curry (2017) in the Journal of Social Psychology reported that performing kindness activities for several days increases happiness.
When you feel low and gloomy, it really is hard to think about kindness and how to use this tool to improve your mood. It just doesn’t click naturally when you are in a depressed state of mind – I get it! That is why we developed the Hey Happy app; to inform you, support you and motivate you to a happier version of yourself! What is interesting from the research, is that we do not have to show kindness every single day to benefit from its mood-enhancing benefits, we can choose one day a week and intentionally perform 5 acts of kindness to reap the benefits. This is so much more sustainable taking into account the ebb and flow of life.
If you feel a creative block around kindness within you, don’t stress. I have compiled a list of a range of kindness activities for you to consider to help you boost your mood:
- donate blood
- leave a bar of chocolate for a cashier
- smile at a stranger
- pay for someone’s meal
- write a love note to your partner
- share a snack in your lunchbox with a friend or colleague
- make yourself a cup of tea, relax and just breathe for a moment
- Give yourself a compliment
- feed an expired parking meter
- donate unused items you don’t use so someone can benefit from it
- leave a note of gift for a stranger in a hospital or a nursing home
- Buy a coffee for someone behind you
- visit an animal shelter and sprinkle some love and kindness
- leave a note in a lunchbox for someone you care about
- don’t charge someone for some work you do for them
- acknowledge people who deserve to be
- register as an organ donor
- babysit for a friend
- let someone go in front of you at the checkout
May these ideas inspire you to start spreading acts of kindness, once a week with intention and purpose and simultaneously become a happier version of yourself!
written by Derika de Villiers, Clinical psychologist