Navigation Links
Acts of Kindness Can Make You Happier

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Performing small acts of kindness and gratitude can make people happier, researchers believe, but how this occurs is more of a puzzle.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, has studied happiness for more than 20 years. She and others know that positive activities boost positive emotions, thoughts and behavior, in turn improving well-being.

Now, how people can deliberately change their thinking and practices to bliss out to the max is her focus.

"I have evidence that the dosage of an activity is important," she said.

Reviewing past studies on happiness, including some of her own research, Lyubomirsky concluded there is no single prescription for happiness-boosting acts of kindness.

Variety, frequency and motivation all play a role, she said.

How often you perform the behaviors influences happiness, Lyubomirsky found, but not always in the way you may think. Studying the effect of counting your blessings on happiness, for instance, she found doing so once a week was ideal for making people happier.

"Doing it three times a week gave no extra benefit," she said.

Her research, presented at the recent annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in New Orleans, found that performing other positive acts once a week led to the most happiness. That could be because many routines, such as worshipping and even TV, occur weekly, she said.

Performing a variety of kind and grateful behaviors helps maximize happiness, too, whereas repeatedly doing the same act of kindness may lose its ability to boost happiness, she said.

"We did one study where we had people do acts of kindness over 10 weeks," she said. The acts could be similar or varied. For instance, someone who usually refused to take out the trash might offer to do so. That made them happier initially, she said, but it worked better in terms of happiness when they varied the activity.

Picking your own positive behavior, such as performing an act of kindness, promises to make you more likely to vary the activity, she also found.

Feeling you have social support for your actions also influences how much positive behaviors, such as expressing gratitude, will boost your happiness, she said. And gaining support through social media works as well as face-to-face "hurrahs," she added.

Commenting on the study, James Maddux, university professor emeritus of psychology at George Mason University, said he thinks "the message is, for these kinds of activities, it's not a matter of one-size-fits-all."

"You start with these general strategies," he said of behaviors such as performing kind acts. "X seems to work for most of the people most of the time."

The next focus, he agreed, is to tease out which differences in people affect the degree of happiness produced, as Lyubomirsky is doing.

Once people figure that out on an individual level, the research suggests they can expect their positive acts to repay them with even more happiness, he said.

Experts note that data and conclusions presented at meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

For more about happiness, visit the Social Psychology Network.

SOURCES: Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., professor, psychology, University of California, Riverside; James Maddux, Ph.D., university professor emeritus, department of psychology, George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.; Jan. 18, 2013, presentation, Society for Personality and Social Psychology annual meeting, New Orleans

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Cody Lovaas to Play Free Great Kindness Challenge Show at New Children's Museum 1/22
2. Tooth Fairy “Kindness Kit” Wins 2012 Kids Product of the Year Award
3. Give Away Your Money, Feel Happier?
4. Happier Childhoods Tied to More Wealth as Adults: Study
5. College Students Who Binge Drink Say Theyre Happier
6. Binge drinking college students are happier than their non-binge drinking peers
7. Toddlers Are Happier to Give Than Receive: Study
8. Active, Outdoor Teens Are Happier Teens: Study
9. Parents are happier than non-parents, new research suggests
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Acts of Kindness Can Make You Happier
(Date:10/13/2017)... Abilene, Texas (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... publication this week that explains one of the most popular and least understood books ... seems like cryptic and puzzling descriptions that have baffled scholars for centuries. Many have ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 2017 , ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field”: the ... in the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field” is the ... She has taught all ages and currently teaches a class of ladies at her ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... CitiDent and San ... using cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as 18 million Americans are ... cessation in breathing. Oral appliances can offer significant relief to about 75 percent ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... IsoComforter, Inc. ( ), one of the ... new design of the shoulder pad. The shoulder pad provides optimal support and ... pain while using cold therapy. By utilizing ice and water that is circulated from ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Information about ... intend to develop to enable prevention of a major side effect of chemotherapy ... especially in pediatric patients. For cisplatin, hearing loss is FDA listed on-label as ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/4/2017)... , Oct. 4, 2017  According to the Centers for Disease ... end of October . PhysicianOne Urgent Care is helping communities across ... Westchester, NY , by offering no-cost* flu shots through the end ... mandated by certain health insurance regulations. ... The best time to get a flu shot is by the end ...
(Date:10/2/2017)...  AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, the combined central specialty pharmacy ... benefit manager Prime Therapeutics LLC (Prime), today officially began ... unveiling of new signage at its headquarters in ... a few other company-owned facilities across the country. This ... of whom will begin to see the AllianceRx Walgreens ...
(Date:9/28/2017)... 28, 2017 Cohen Veterans Bioscience and Early ... of wearable and home sensors for real-time monitoring of ... Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on disruptive health solutions ... affordable analytical system to record and integrate behavioral, cognitive, ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: