A simple way to feel happier

Posted on April 29, 2016

Photo: flickr

The study found that people tend to feel greater pride in themselves after doing a good deed for others than when they do a good deed for themselves.

In the study of 500 participants, some performed acts of kindness for others, like picking up litter or buying a friend a cup of coffee, while others performed acts of kindness for themselves like taking a day off work or doing more exercise.

The authors explain that when people do nice things for others, they may feel greater joy, contentment, and love, which in turn promote greater overall well-being and improve social relationships. In contrast, being kind to oneself does not appear to lead individuals to feel greater positive emotions and fewer negative emotions, perhaps because the hedonic benefits are short-lived and/or are neutralized by hedonic costs (like guilt). In addition, self-focused behaviors in the current study were often solitary and may have offered fewer opportunities to improve relationships.

They concluded that contrary to the common belief that happiness comes from a focus on oneself, their evidence suggests that what consistently makes people happy is focusing prosocially on others.


Source material from PsyBlog

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