Today’s research answers the following question: Does kindness affect happiness? Does performing acts of kindness have a positive impact on the person performing the acts?
We always hear that being kind reflects on you and it benefits the giver but is that really true?
Research paper :
A range of kindness activities boost happiness by Lee Rowland & Oliver Scott Curry – The Journal of Social Psychology
What did the researchers do?
The researchers compared two multiple groups to assess the effect of 7 days of performing acts of kindness in different settings :
- strong vs weak social ties (being kind to people you know versus being kind to strangers)
- novel acts of self-kindness (being kind towards yourself)
- observing acts of kindness (watching others perform acts of kindness towards others)
These measures were compared against a group that did not perform any acts of kindness (control group).
What did they find out?
Surprise surprise! They found out that performing acts of kindness had a strong effect on the happiness of people performing the acts.
Does kindness affect happiness? Yes, performing acts of kindness for seven days actually does increase happiness.
Not only so, but they also found out that as the number of acts of kindness increase the amount of happiness also increases – ie its a “positive correlation.”
Does it matter who you are being kind to? A stranger? A loved one? Yourself?
The answer from this research is: no it does not matter. No only so, even observed kindness created a sense of happiness.
Performing acts of kindness towards others, or towards yourself or simply being around people who adopt acts of kindness are all factors that increase happiness.
One takeaway from this research is that surrounding yourself with people who are inherently kind to others will boost your happiness simply because even observing kindness increases happiness- so choose wisely!
The researchers’ findings show that performing acts of kindness really does reflect on the person performing the act, not just the recipient. In other words, if you want a boost of happiness- try making others happy and it really will rub off on you.