by Elizabeth Scott, M.S.
Change Your Perspective
Do A Good Deed
Many people find that helping others brings feelings of happiness. In fact, research shows that those who volunteer tend to report greater levels of health and happiness. This is thought to be true for a few reasons. One is that altruism itself brings many benefits, including greater levels of emotional wellbeing. When you do something nice for someone else, your focus turns away from yourself and your own problems, and toward others and helping them feel good. A smile that you bring to someone else’s face is a contagious smile, bringing contagious happiness. Also, when faced with others in need, people tend to focus more on what they already have than on what they don’t. (More on that later.)A quick, happiness-toting good deed can be anything from a kind word to a clerk stressed store clerk to a large gift for a loved one or a charity, and can make you feel happiness right away — happiness that’s shared. (For more ideas for good deeds, see this piece on random acts of kindness.)
Happiness expert Robert Holden, Ph.D., who has a very successful 8-week course on the development of happiness, you don’t need need to work toward happiness, you can just be happy. Think about it: you likely already know what activities make you feel good, and what brings you joy. Just do those things. (And why not start today? As Holden recommends, “Live NOW–procrastinate later!”)Another thing you can do is decide in the morning that you’re going to be a little happier. Think about 3 things that can make you a little happier that day, and try to do them. While building a life that fosters happiness is a good idea, you don’t need to wait until that happiness-lifestyle is in place; you can be happier now by simply choosing happiness.
What are your best happiness strategies? Scroll down to share your ideas with other readers, and see what works for them!