Want to make not only yourself happier and kinder, but also the world around you?
Here’s one way: Keep track of every act of kindness you perform today, recording your total number before you go to bed tonight. Do this every day, starting today, for the next 7 days.
(And if you’re stuck for ideas, here you go.)
How does this simple exercise work? Consider the following (and quite remarkable) scientific research:
Kindness increases happiness. Just thinking about sending kindness to others rewires the brain in a positive way, and doing the exercise I described here boosts happiness levels, on average, by more than 10%.
Happiness, in turn, further increases kindness. For example, in controlled research it has been shown that you are 4 times more likely to help another after you have been made to feel good.
Kindness is highly contagious. If you act kindly, you not only encourage the recipient of your behaviours to act more kindly. You encourage the recipient of the recipient of the recipient to act more kindly, too.
Happiness is highly contagious. If you become happy, you increase the probability that your next-door neighbour is happy by some 34%. Furthermore, becoming a new happy friend to someone can boost not only their long-term happiness by more than 4 times what them winning $15 000* would, it can even significantly boost the happiness of a friend, of a friend, of your friend!
Your emotions and behaviours are highly contagious. And because we live in extraordinarily complex social systems, they will spread far beyond what you can see, and have an impact on people who you will never meet.
How you live your life, matters.
More so than you can ever know.
[*estimated value after converting to $AU and accounting for inflation.]