Make Yourself Happy – help someone!

buttercup offeringIf you’re feeling a bit despondent about the economy or your own personal circumstances, don’t despair. Research has shown time and time again that doing something for someone else, helping someone, can make us feel better about ourselves – make us happier.

The Little Things in Life

It doesn’t need to be a big thing: hold a door open, smile at a stranger, give up your seat, ring someone you know is lonely, make a point of telling someone you like their work, make a small donation to charity.

That last one is called prosocial spending by the way. Previous research has found that money doesn’t necessarily make you happy. Some researchers at the University of British Columbia decided to test this a little further and look at how people actually spent their money; they had an hypothesis that it was how the money was used that was significant.

People not Stuff

They discovered that those who spent at least a third of their money on others felt much happier than those who spent it all on material possesions for themselves. (Although it seems entirely possible that those people helped others, regardless of their income and just continued to do it when they had funds! The money need not be relevant to their happiness levels at all.)

However, the study fits in neatly with a growing body of research that finds that helping others is the best way to help yourself, that people who give more and are more socially connected are happier. Give it a go!


Posted on October 14th, 2009 by

2 Responses to “Make Yourself Happy – help someone!”

  1. Mike says:

    Just wondering whether some of the home based micro-volunteering opportunities featured on this website are useful to you in helping others.

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