Table of contents:
Essential: A Regular Reminder
It Is Part Of The Vital "Self-Opinion"
Simple Acts - And Consistently Every Day (just a few seconds)
When individuals in control groups are asked to do one "random act of kindness" per day (or even per week) for several weeks, their measures of happiness rise significantly and lastingly.
Whether this is from our instinctual need to cooperate to survive (see How The Mind Developed) or from an altered view of oneself or just from the satisfaction of making a contribution, the plain and simple fact is that this works and that there is a significant positive happiness effect.
The positive effect was even detected from something as simple as being sure to smile at strangers. (Also, the smiling muscles and movement create positive chemicals.)
There is no need to carry this to the extreme, where one is contributing too much, as the effect can be from simple, quick actions.
ESSENTIAL: A REGULAR REMINDER
Until this practice is automatically built in, use a simple reminder ("do acts of kindness") posted on a stickie, coming up on a screen saver, or simply available in a list of "happiness producers" kept in your Reminders Notebook.
Build something into your weekly schedule in your planning. It can be on your regular weekly planning list.
IT IS PART OF THE VITAL "SELF-OPINION"
Creating a good opinion of oneself contributes to the "I know I as a person am ok" part of happiness. (We are not doing this to curry favor with others. Please remember that.)
SIMPLE ACTS - AND CONSISTENTLY EVERY DAY
Smile at others with direct eye contact.
Send a $5 (or more) check off to a charity).
Give some money to a homeless person without any judging of that person or
what he'll do with the money.
Help do something for a charity, serve meals, deliver something.
Open a door for someone
Give a compliment and/or acknowledge another
Especially a deep, written acknowledgement
Kindness, and the emotion that comes within it, is the opposite of negative or aggressive behavior, generates positive chemicals. It is a simple decision: "today I will be kind to others"or "right now I will go into my kindness mode."
And it only takes a few seconds. And the shift will lower stress at the time and for several hours afterward.
We hear so much about people saying "I want to make a difference, have impact on others and the world". And that is all fine if you want to do it on a grand scale.
And, until then, do it on a small scale, a bit at a time, because psychologically it gives you a boost similar to doing the big thing.
Just help somebody in some way. It could be a kind act, a smile, a pat on the shoulder, a compliment - anything that has another person feeling better or being better off.