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Kindness is magic: How to get happy by giving

Is kindness magic? Can you really get happy by giving? Are people happier when they give to others and perform random acts of kindness?

The answer to all of these questions is: hell yeah! It’s true, putting good out into the world creates a ripple effect of positive emotions.

Acts of kindness can make you feel better and make someone else’s day. Your selfless act will give you both a hit of oxytocin, which is the hormone that helps social bonding.

Giving also turns on the parts of your brain that are responsible for pleasure, rewards, and trust. That means your brain is producing all the warm, fuzzy feelings you usually have when YOU are the receiver of a gift.

Check out this study on altruism and brain activity for more about the science behind it.

Yeah, but what about money?

Giving doesn’t have to cost much or anything at all. Sure, you can buy coffee for the next person in line or give someone a fancy gift, but expense has nothing to do with how happy you will feel when you give. Make another person’s day a little brighter without spending a penny.

You can volunteer your time with an organization in your community, leave a note with a compliment on someone’s desk, or just ask a stranger how their day is going.

That’s right. Kindness is magic and totally free. Give it a try right now.

Flowers make a thought gift when you are generating kindness. Get happy by giving.
Photo by Erol Ahmed

More about kindness

  • How to buy happiness – In this informative, funny TEDtalk, Michael Norton explains how spending money on others leads to feeling happier. Learn how to be pro-social with your happiness.
  • Science of Generosity – Dive into more information about the science behind giving with the Greater Good Science Center.

Start giving now

  • Do Good From Home – Get ideas from Hasbro for practicing kindness with the kids in your life.
  • Love for Our Elders – Send letters to seniors.
  • 7 cups listeners – Listen to others who need support.
  • Donors Choose – Fund meaningful classroom projects requested by teachers.
  • Give Directly – Ask those in poverty what they need and they will tell you: cash. Cut out the charity administration fees and give money directly to someone in need.
  • Free Rice – Help others by playing a game. Free Rice donates advertising revenue to the United Nations’ World Food Program. Test your knowledge in categories like history, language, geography, and art.

Need more inspiration?

Try a Kindness Generator

Check out the list of fun acts of kindness in the Be Happy, B*tch workbook

The Be Happy, B*tch workbook has a list of acts of kindness that you can do to boost your mood.

By Tiff Reagan

Tiff Reagan is a writer, a storyteller and a public servant. She is a policy subject matter expert for the rad state of Oregon and has a Master's degree in Educational Psychology. She also lives with clinical depression.

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