How to be Happy by Giving to Others

Posted on July 10, 2014

The Declaration of Independence proclaims that the pursuit of happiness is an unalienable right. Indeed, happiness is a universal human yearning- people of all ages, genders, shapes, and sizes want to be happy. And humans have shown themselves to be quite adept at pursuing happiness, devoting much of their money, time, and energy to this quest. But what about our ability to actually attain happiness? Well, that's a different story.

Finding the right path to happiness can be a challenge because, as research has shown, although we think we know the keys to happiness, we are actually not very good at predicting what will bring us joy.

Recently, a burgeoning field of research has helped resolve this happiness paradox by showing that prosocial behavior - voluntary behavior intended to benefit another - can boost happiness. Research has shown that performing five random acts of kindness one day a week (for six weeks) can increase your happiness.

Moreover, at the end of the work day, if you more strongly feel that your work made a positive difference in other people's lives, you feel more positively at bedtime. Even research on spending has uncovered similar effects: Those who spend money on others (versus themselves) experience greater happiness. So, telling people to do good things for others appears to be a good strategy for personal happiness.


Source material from Scientific American

Mental Health News