Helping Others Could Boosts Happiness

A new study suggests that kindness and generosity may increase happiness.

Happiness comes from helping others.

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What makes you happy? You may want to answer that spending time with your family, taking a vacation or driving a new sports car makes you happy but the key to happiness may be altruism. Helping others may actually boost your happiness.

According to Time Magazine, the greatest thinkers in the world have suggested that true happiness is found in helping others and now there is scientific research from a team of psychologists at the University of Missouri-Columbia to prove it.

While Americans are guaranteed the pursuit of happiness in their Declaration of Independence, it is usually referring to individual rights and is self-serving. The researchers led by Liudmila Titova and Kennon Sheldon looked at whether pursuing happiness for others will actually make people happier. They found that it does.

Two experiments were conducted by the team, according to Psychology Today. In the first experiment asked participants to recall a time that they tried to make themselves or another person happy. They were asked to write about the event and rate how happy it made them feel.

In the second experiment, they were asked to remember a time they tried to make someone else happy and also write about how it made them feel. This experiment elicited a higher rate of happiness than the first.

“The results of these studies extend findings from previous research by showing that people derive boosted personal happiness from attempts to make other people happy — an approach that might seem counterintuitive for a lot of people at first,” researchers wrote in the study.

But how does the research translate into real life? How can people help others in constructive ways that will benefit them without making you feel used or being taken advantage of? Here are some helpful tips.

First, according to Time Magazine, find your passion. Give to people or causes that move you and share your values. If you don’t have extra funds to contribute, you can give your time. Read to children at the library or virtually, or volunteer at a food bank or soup kitchen. If you love animals, help out at a pet adoption day or spend time with shelter pets.

If you are donating money, make sure that the organizations aim and actions are transparent. “Giving to a cause that specifies what they’re going to do with your money leads to more happiness than giving to an umbrella cause where you’re not so sure where your money is going,” Harvard scientist Michael Norton told Time Magazine.

Whatever you do, the key is to find an approach that works for you and let it come naturally. Remember that boosting happiness is a benefit of helping others and not the goal.

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