A Tiny Good Deed Can Go a Long Way

Posted on August 27, 2014

You already know the "secret" to happiness: Do something nice for someone else. Now, some new research takes that idea one step further, finding that getting more specific about the random act of kindness you're planning can actually end up making you even happier. For example: Aiming to make someone smile (and succeeding) will ultimately make you happier than the comparatively abstract goal of trying to make them happy.

In one experiment, University of Houston marketing professor Melanie Rudd and colleagues gave a group of 50 adults a 24-hour challenge: Some were told to do something in the next day to make someone happy, while others were told to make someone smile. The next day, after accomplishing their little good deed, the people who'd made someone smile said they felt both happier and more confident that they'd actually achieved their goal than the people who'd simply tried to make someone else happy. Rudd found similar results when she asked people to try to save the environment versus increase their own recycling efforts for one day.

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Source material from New York Magazine

Mental Health News