“I need help with this program on my computer,” said an elderly woman who approached you as you were waiting for your food.
So you asked her what the specific problem was and fixed it for her.
That random act was not a big deal for you. But because that random act is an act of kindness, it made the elderly woman — and you — smile.
Why is that? Why does kindness make you happy?
Let’s find out the answer to that question here. This way, you can shower everyone with kindness, be happy, and understand why.
Why does kindness make you happy?
Studies (including those from Forbes¹ and The Mayo Clinic²) can confirm this:
Once you show kindness to others, you experience a happier feeling — a feeling you want to experience all over again.
Happiness & Physical and Mental Wellness
To elaborate, let’s discuss a study published in the Psychological Bulletin³ journal. In that study, over 198,000 participants chipped in to assess the connection between pro-social behavior (including kindness) and well-being.
It showed two things:
- Yes, there’s a connection between kindness and wellness, and
- Performing acts of kindness is good for a person’s physical and mental health.
And if you read further, you’ll also know how the strength of the connection depends on these factors: The specific act of kindness, the doer’s gender, age, and other demographic information.
Should you be kind to people who live well-to-do lives?
Yes, you should. Being kind and being generous are relative terms. They’re not the same, though.
Don’t choose to be kind to specific people only, or those you feel are less fortunate. Rather, choose to show kindness to everyone. Playing God and hand-picking the people who, for you, deserve kindness defeats the purpose of kindness.
Why does kindness make you happy? 9 reasons kindness makes you smile
Kindness is good for your physical and mental wellness. And this generic reason alone is enough for many people.
If you want to look closely into the matter, here are 9 reasons kindness makes you happy:
1. It makes you and everybody else smile
Notice how you smile the moment you see someone smile? Smiling is contagious — and so is everything else that makes you happy.
You may call it behavioral contagion⁴. A person tends to act similarly to another person. And they do it unconsciously!
2. It builds connections
Being kind to someone makes that person drawn to you. Because you’ve shown kindness to them, they’ll return that favor and show kindness to you, too.
They want to be there for you, help you in any way they can. And they want to be your friend. If you want to have friends, a simple way is to be kind.
3. It comes back
Karma: What goes around comes around.
Keep doing good and the good deeds will find their way back to you. Sometimes, though, these good deeds won’t return to you in an obvious manner or in a way you expect.
But don’t you just want to put good out there, anyway?
If the good comes back to you, be happy. If not, that should be okay because you can rest easy knowing you were a genuinely good person.
4. It helps you solve a problem
For most people, a simple act of kindness is all they need. Give them a $20 amount, offer a black pen, start a 10-minute call from loved ones, or treat them to a hot meal and they’re good.
That’s it — you don’t have to do anything else for them. Problem solved, a day made!
Don’t you want to be the one to do that for them?
5. It encourages you to think with an unbiased perspective
It’s understandable to not show kindness to people who frustrate the life out of you. Some people are unbelievably ill-mannered. And dealing with them can exhaust you.
But let’s be fair. Sometimes, it’s not their fault that they are the way they are. And in these cases, they’re unaware of their situation. For all you know, they may suffer from a mental illness.
For example, a person with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) doesn’t know their desperate need to be the center of attention can be extremely annoying.
So rather than react the usual way, why not look closely at their situation and show kindness instead?
6. It makes lives (more) meaningful
Lives that are meaningful after a show of kindness are yours and the lives of the people you were kind to.
Because you were kind to them and showed a loving side, they’ll be forever grateful to you. And it makes you feel good to have people out there who think highly of you.
Propelling you towards success
7. It allows you to create better business strategies
Showing kindness allows you to strategize more effectively because it opens your mind to every business opportunity — and not just obvious opportunities. When you’re kind, you don’t close your door to anything or anyone who wants to offer you something.
Instead of making rash decisions and outright rejections, you give these things a chance and identify strengths and weaknesses. Once you have a much better handle on them, you help them maximize what they can do for your business.
8. It positions you to win people over
Getting on the good side of people can come naturally for others. And if you can easily get on the good side of someone, you have higher chances of succeeding in life.
You’ll make it big because you’re likable. People want to be around you. And they’re always going to support you and boost your morale.
9. It shows leadership potential
“Good leadership is an act of kindness,” goes the title of an article featured on Harvard Business School⁵. It states that along with emotional intelligence and empathy, kindness is one of the most important soft skills in a leader.
Leading with kindness is being a leader who acknowledges their people’s fear, anxiety, confusion, and other negative emotions. And when these emotions are out there, the leader can then help manage and control their people’s emotional responses.
The result? Less panic and worries.
Final thoughts: Why does kindness make you happy?
So these are the discussions on this question: “Why does kindness make you happy?”
For many people (and maybe including you), being kind to others isn’t a big deal. It’s like a person’s default setting to be kind to another. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult for everybody to see it like that.
Regardless, always wanting to be happy is something everybody wants. Who knew doing kind acts — free and simple — is all it takes to make it happen?