Oprah called them random acts of kindness. I've heard other people call it paying it forward. However you describe it, the truth is, helping others helps you too.
Here’s an interesting exercise for you. Head out to do your errands, drive to work, or get to school and make it a point to make someone else’s day today. It could be something as simple as giving someone a big smile, have a meaningful conversation with a person who’s feeling a little lost or lonely, or it could be buying lunch for the homeless person on the corner. It doesn’t matter what you do, but do something today to make someone else’s day.
How does that make sure feel? It’s a pretty good feeling isn’t it? It seems that a big key to our own happiness lies in making people around us happy, and helping out. When you start to think about it, it makes sense, doesn’t it? We are social creatures who have to work together to truly thrive. It is only logical then that helping those around us has an internal rewards system built in. In other words, our happiness goes up as we improve the lives of those around us.
A great strategy then to increase our own happiness is to cheer up those around us. I know what you're thinking, you're on this challenge to help yourself feel better, you don't have the energy to help someone else. It can be hard when you're barely making it to invest the energy in someone else's happiness, but those are the times you need to force yourself to do it the most. Maybe it's because you feel more in control when you're making an impact, maybe you just realize that by comparison, your life isn't so bad, but either way it works.
As with many of the other strategies we’ve been discussing about increasing your happiness, the key to making this work is to make it a habit. If it becomes well ingrained in your daily routine to make someone’s day as you go about living your life, you’ll automatically start to do it, even when (and especially when) you don’t feel like it. As you well know those are the times when you particularly need to do something to increase your own happiness and give yourself that little extra boost.
Remember simple is best and no money is necessary to make someone's day. Instead focus on small acts of kindness that you can do routinely. If you need ideas, they really are everywhere, but here are a few ideas to get you started. Bless your loved ones with this kindness, or complete strangers who look like they could use a little cheering up. Help someone unload groceries, fix a meal for a neighbor who just had a new baby, or bring your spouse coffee in bed when he or she is having a hard time. All these small acts of kindness will start to make a huge difference not just in you, but also the world around you.