Friday, January 6, 2012

Helpful and Happy

Can random acts of kindness improve your own mood? 
You probably heard stories over this past holiday season about people's "good Samaritan" acts.  They donated time, money, and a helping hand.   Turns out, the act of doing something to help someone else may actually help you

Research is showing that giving to others can actually treat depression.   This type of treatment is very effective and usually comes at a low cost.  According to the researchers involved in a new study, although doing something positive for someone else might only seem like it makes you feel good for a short period, it can actually have a longer lasting effect.   In fact, the more often it's done the longer that positive effect hangs around. 

Plus, in a pay it forward kind of way, it can actually impact other parts of your life as well.  Helping others can lessen your depression which puts you in a better mood.  This can create a snowball effect where family or workmates recognize this better mood and compliment you on something, putting you in an even better mood.  This can accumulate over time to help increase your own self worth. 

So the secret here is to do something for someone else, and it doesn't even have to cost you anything.    Volunteer, thank the cashier at the store, help someone shovel snow, or even let someone take the parking spot you were eyeballing.   These simple acts can go a long way towards improving your own mood all year long.

In about the same degree as you are helpful, you will be happy. - Karl Reiland