Happiness goals countdown

Increasing the world’s happiness quotient

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Happiness Goal #3: Find your "Good Deed of the Day" Every Day

Become a Happiness Champion. Join the Happiness Goals Countdown at LifeCoachHub.com.

Today's Happiness Countdown Goal is about increasing your happiness with good deeds.

Think about when you did something nice for somebody. The memory likely makes you feel good.

And doing good deeds on a daily basis will boost your happiness. It might even help you live a longer life. Research by M.J. Poulin and colleagues reported in 2013 in the American Journal of Public Health measured the effect of helping others against stress-related mortality. This study showed that even people feeling stress had decreased mortality if they consistently helped other people.

The link between doing good deeds and happiness was also present in a 1991 study by Midlarsky. She found that helping other people improved mental health. It made people feel good and therefore happier.

Although we've all heard the saying that money can't buy happiness, there's actually an exception. You can increase your happiness when you spend money on other people. A 2012 report in the Journal of Happiness Studies by Aknin and her colleagues called spending money on others a "sustainable path to happiness".

There's physical evidence for this happiness boost too. MRI brain studies conducted by Moll and others looked at the brain when people made decisions about giving to charity. The mesolimbic reward system was engaged when people decided to donate to charity. Their brains lit up the same as when people received money.

Here are some ways you can do good deeds for others and feel happier:

  • Spend money on other people.
  • Give your time to other people.
  • Donate to causes important to you.
  • Join a volunteer group.

The experience of doing positive work will reward you with more happiness. In fact, many types of experiences offer emotional rewards. Stay tuned in the Happiness Goals Countdown: our next message will look at the happiness value of experiences versus material possessions.

Artist: Sophie Gengembre Anderson