May: Random Acts of Kindness

Dear life lovers, positivity ambassadors, and beautiful souls,

the fifth month of our happiness journey has just started and I’m curious about what experiences you’ve made in the last four months. Did you realize any changes? Did you learn anything that you want to hold on to?

Last Saturday it was so sunny that I decided to study outside. So I went to Camden, found a really cute cafe with a terrace and listened to a lecture on Second Wave Positive Psychology. If you haven’t heard about Second Wave PP before, it doesn’t really matter, but I want to share one essential learning with you.

Happiness doesn’t emerge when we are obsessed looking for it. Seeking for happiness doesn’t mean that we should look for short-term rewards, but rather that we should behave in a way that, in turn, enhances wellbeing in us. So, we shouldn’t seek for happiness directly, but rather in implicit ways. But – how can we indirectly facilitate happiness?

One powerful way to make not only ourselves, but also the people around us, happy is serving others. Serving others not in a way that does harm to us (does it really ever?), but rather in a way that in term enhances our wellbeing levels to a max. Therefore, I’ve chosen to share the intervention ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ with you.

Random Acts of Kindness (Otake, Shimai, Tanaka-Matsumi, Otsui, & Frederickson (2006))

In a study, Lyubomirsky and colleagues found that by performing behaviours in order to benefit others or make them happy, typically at some cost to themselves (!), people’s own happiness levels enhanced. Foundational to this, shaping the awareness for one’s kind behaviour towards others has been shown to increase an individual’s wellbeing.

So, what do we mean by kind behaviours? It really doesn’t have to be a big deal. No, you don’t need to spend looots of money on it. Instead, you can just smile at the girl that is passing by, pay someone a genuine compliment, buy your partner roses, or write your friend a letter. It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as it makes another person happy or benefits him or her (e.g. by cooking your girlfriend dinner after she had a long day).

You will see – as soon as you realize how easy it is to make someone happy, you will never stop integrating these little random acts of kindness into your daily life.

Throw kindness around like konfetti!  ♥

All the best,

Kira

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