We talked to Jenny Gilmour about Feeling Happier as part of International Day of Happiness this year.
Several weeks ago I was helping out my elderly Mum and Dad at the cafe in a local supermarket. On this particular occasion, for various reasons, it was all rather tricky. A young Mum in the queue in front of us chatted briefly and then went off to do her shopping with her young son. Whilst my parents and I were sitting drinking our coffee she came over and gave us a lovely bunch of flowers.
“When I remember it I still smile”
The Science Behind Kindness
To be on the receiving end of an act of kindness is great for us – our brain’s reward system means that when we receive a favour, or an act of kindness, dopamine is released, we feel good. In addition, the random element added to a kind action can dramatically increase the feelings of pleasure it triggers in our brains.
Also, perhaps surprisingly, increasingly scientific studies show that helping others increases our happiness. We feel more satisfied, have a sense of meaning, and increased mood and reduced stress. We also feel more connected to others … and it is contagious – we are kinder to ourselves, and in that way kindness spreads from on person to the next.
Our acts of kindness don’t have to be financial, it can be as simple as a smile, holding the door open for someone, or making a round of tea at work.
Kindness Increases Happiness
Consider doing a random act of kindness every day for a week – and when you receive an act of kindness consider passing it forwards, so that when you receive an act of kindness from someone someone receives an act of kindness from you.
There is a random act of kindness day every year in February. On their kindness blog, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation lists some possible ways you can increase someone else’s level of happiness (and simultaneously increase your own level of happiness) https://www.randomactsofkindness.org
Here a college running group take a group of dogs from a local rescue for a run:
And for more information on the power of helping others : Action for Happiness, lists doing things for others as one of its 10 keys for happiness. They are at http://www.actionforhappiness.org
Jenny Gilmore is our Advanced Lightning Process (TM) Practitioner, and NLP Coach and Hypnotherapist.
She specialises in helping people with disability and health issues. Her own website is: generatingchange.org