14 Dec The positive psychology of gratitude and acts of service.
There are few things more important in life, or in a GOOD LIFE anyway, than kindness and gratitude.
Being kind and appreciative set us up for a range of positive emotions including happiness, and boost our health and wellbeing.
We all “know” we should do and be these things; but many of us don’t “do” them as well as we could.
So take the KINDNESS CHALLENGE! Keep reading to find out how…
via Psychology Today by Clay Drinko
- Other-care (helping others) provides more psychological and physical health benefits than self-care.
- Prosocial spending (spending on other people) leads to increased happiness.
- Practicing gratitude leads to increased happiness and relationship satisfaction, as well as improved physical health.
- Being kind has been linked to improved physical and mental health, including increased resilience and improved social bonds.
A recent Atlantic article by Jamil Zaki, “‘Self-Care’ Isn’t the Fix for Late-Pandemic Malaise,” extols the virtues of “other care,” taking care of others instead of focusing on yourself. As someone who wrote a book with a chapter called “Your Mom Was Wrong (You Aren’t Special),” you know I’m all about this shift from narcissistic consumerism to community-minded stewardship.
In study after study, giving to others made people feel better than keeping for themselves. Zaki references a few such studies. In one, people were randomly assigned to either give money to others or keep it for themselves. The givers were more likely to feel a sense of purpose.
In another study, participants kept track of how and when they helped others. When participants felt connected to whom and why they were helping, they reported increased personal fulfillment.
Self-care is a booming industry, but there isn’t much evidence that focusing our efforts on our own well-being yields many psychological benefits. We need connection, and kindness is a surefire, research-backed way to connect and feel a sense of purpose. Zaki calls this “other-care” and argues that it’s just the thing we need to get out of this two-year mental hellscape.
That’s why I’ve put together the Kindness Challenge. For one week, I demonstrated kindness at least once a day. I divided my acts of kindness into three levels, from just giving out some cash to helping someone in a meaningful and personal way.
I’m a realist, so I knew from that start that some days I’d just be able to give someone a healthy tip, while others would present opportunities to go above and beyond.
Here are the three levels of the Kindness Challenge …
… keep reading the full & original article HERE