A Simple Way to Increase Happiness
(And Encourage Others To Do The Same)

Life is busy and often stressful. And when this happens, it can be difficult to create your own feelings of happiness, let alone contribute to someone else's happiness.

Fortunately, there's a simple strategy you can use to help give your happiness a boost... and do the same for others.

It's called the Moral Eleiration Effect.

It sounds a bit like rocket science, but it means something quite simple.

Essentially, it means if someone performs an act of kindness for you, you are more likely to perform an act of kindness for someone else.

Merely observing someone's act of kindness, even if it wasn't meant for you, makes you more likely to pay it forward.

Fowler et al. (2010) first demonstrated this effect by conducting a study in which they played a "giving" game.

Results showed that giving selflessly to one person caused the effect to spread throughout the lab from person-to-person.

So, one simple act of kindness would ultimately impact strangers as the act of giving became contagious.

Take-Home Message

We already know through previous studies that giving increases feelings of happiness.

It's quite remarkable to think that a simple act of giving could positively impact the person you are helping and possibly many other people you've never even met!

So, feel free to use your creativity here and help someone.

If you are struggling to come up with ideas, one simple way of doing this during a busy day would be to consider paying for the order behind you the next time you are at a Tim Horton's drive-thru.

That simple act of kindness could go a lot farther than you think.

3 Step Plan for Giving

Giving is good, and the world really would be a better place if we all made giving a habit.

And the best way to give consistently is to have a plan in advance.

As the famous Benjamin Franklin saying goes, "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail."

Let's take a look at a simple plan you could use to make giving a priority in your daily life.

Start Your Day by Giving

The people we love the most are typically the ones we tend to take for granted and often treat the worst.

One great way to help combat this trend is to make a habit of doing something kind for someone who lives in your home.

Let your imagination run wild here.

Do something nice for your partner, your child or your pet at the start of the day. You could make someone their favourite breakfast, send a thoughtful note in someone's lunch, run an errand for your partner… you get the idea.

It's the thought that counts.

Find a Way to Give During the Day

During the day, there are many opportunities to be kind to others. Give a compliment, grab someone a coffee, offer a helping hand, etc.

I still hear from my wife about the time someone ahead of her in line at a Robins Donuts drive-thru decided to pay for her coffee.

Little acts of kindness can be very impactful.

End Your Day by Giving

Most of us tend to be fairly tired by the end of the day, and the thought of giving usually falls off the radar as we begin to focus on completing evening routines so we can finally wind down.

So, one of the best ways you can give at the end of the day is by simply giving your time.

Park the phone for a while, talk to your partner about their day, read your child a bedtime story, bring your teenager an evening snack, it all counts.

Life will always be busy, but having a quality interaction with someone in your household might be the most valuable thing you can give.

What are the different ways that you like to give to people?
What are some simple ways that people in your life could give to you?
Join the conversation on Facebook!

Article by

Trevor Sullivan, MA, RP

Registered Psychotherapist

July 29, 2020