40 ways to improve your mood & your health by helping others
Want to improve your mood and your health?
After more than a year of COVID restrictions, economic challenges, and isolation, chances are pretty good you could use a pick-me-up.
New research suggests there’s a surprising way to boost happiness, reduce stress, and improve your health WITHOUT medication, strenuous exercise, extreme dieting, or all the other health and fitness fads out there.1
It’s pretty simple: Practice kindness.
Maybe that sounds like woo-woo science. But research shows practicing kindness can have a positive impact on your health in more ways than one…
Being kind to others can help you feel happier. In one review of 400 studies, acts of kindness for others had a positive impact on mood and happiness.2
It didn’t matter who: family friends, colleagues, community members, and even strangers. You can be kind to anyone and feel happy.
Live longer and boost brain health
But being kind does more than just help you feel good. One study tracked about 43,000 people for a year.
Researchers found that those who help others are more likely to live longer and have healthier brains.3
Doing good may also help reduce stress and inflammation linked to chronic diseases.
Control blood pressure
In a separate study, researchers followed about 7,000 people for 48 months.4 They found that people who volunteer at least 200 hours a year are less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who don’t volunteer.
And that’s important. High blood pressure has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and early death. Doing good matters.
40 ways to practice kindness
So how can you practice kindness? It’s simple. Look for ways to help others at home, at work, in your community, or when you’re out and about.
You can lend a hand by doing something simple like offering a compliment. Or, you can make an impact in other ways. Here are 40 ways you can practice kindness:
- Hug your kids
- Compliment your partner
- Write thank-you letters
- Mow your neighbor’s lawn
- Call or text a friend just to talk
- Do someone else’s chores for a day
- Be a good listener
- Invite a friend over for dinner
- Throw a party for someone
- Encourage laughter
- Help new employees feel welcome
- Point out a job well done
- Take a co-worker to lunch
- Write a thank-you note to a manager or co-worker
- Fix problems when you can, even if it’s not your job
In your community…
- Donate blood
- Be a mentor to others
- Share your talents
- Donate to a food drive or charity
- Help out at your child’s school
- Serve on a council or board
- Help plan neighborhood or community events
- Take healthy treats to a friend
- Serve meals at a local shelter
- Adopt a road and pick up litter
- Offer pro-bono services
- Babysit for parents with young children
- Volunteer at a hospital, library or museum
Out and about…
- Let someone go ahead of you in line at the store.
- Pay for coffee for the person behind you
- Hold a door open for someone
- Return your shopping cart
- Share an umbrella
- Give directions to someone who is lost
- Let other drivers in front of you
- Help a stranded driver
- Compliment others
- Smile more
- Listen more
- Say thank you more often
Practicing kindness doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. It’s something everyone can do. You might not be able to help everyone. But you can still make a difference.
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one,” Mother Teresa said.
Practicing kindness will help others, and it will improve your mood and your health.
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