Change your outlook – Change your productivity
Post #6 in a Series: Random Acts of Kindness
In his TED Talk, The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor identified five research-based practices shown to increase happiness and productivity when built into your daily routine.
Creating Lasting Positive Change
Today, we will focus on random acts of kindness. If you would like to revisit the introduction to this series, click here. Use the links in the bulleted list above to access previously discussed elements of change.
“The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy; I mean if you are happy you will be good.”
– Bertrand Russell
More so than any other behavior on the list for increasing happiness to create lasting positive change, random acts of kindness contain the potential to improve your day, as well as somebody else’s day.
Good for You and Good for Others
A simple gesture of unsolicited, unexpected kindness increases happiness in both the doer and the receiver. Think about it. When you bring in your garbage cans on an especially blustery day, and take an extra minute to pull your neighbor’s cans up to their garage door, your neighbor is surprised and grateful to avoid fighting the wind to gather their cans, and you feel good in the knowledge that your efforts have made someone else’s day a little brighter.
The possible ripple effects from intentional acts of kindness extend beyond the one committing the act. The recipient of the unexpected gesture may experience a mood boost and may be inclined to surprise somebody else with a random act of kindness.
Shawn Achor explains how you might embed random acts of kindness into your daily routine.
While Shawn’s approach serves as an easy way to make acts of kindness part of your routine, Lyubomirsky’s research emphasizes that by adding variety to the random acts, “happiness can be amplified”.
Write a note today; bring flowers to a co-worker tomorrow. Look for opportunities to present themselves.
Dr. Phil regularly reminds couples to wake up every morning and ask, “what can I do today to make someone’s life better?”
Can it be this easy? Can simple gestures of kindness translate into a more productive life?
After devoting years to studying the effects of happiness, Lyubomirsky claims “happiness is positively correlated with indicators of superior mental and physical health”.
Need some ideas?
Ray Alonzo has written books full of Simple Acts of Kindness.
Here are just a few of Ray’s random acts of kindness for you to consider:
- Send a sympathy card to a child who has lost a pet.
- Give a soft drink to your mechanic.
- Write a thank you note to a favorite teacher from your elementary school years.
- When washing your own car, offer to wash your neighbor’s car, too!
- Say “thank you” to a referee at the end of a game (even if your team lost).
- Pay for a box of popcorn for a kid behind you at the movie theater concession.
- Order extra Girl Scout cookies to give to others.
- Pick up trash lying around in the neighborhood.
- Send a care package to a college student.
- Give a candy bar to a tollbooth operator.
- Offer to plant some flowers in an elderly person’s yard.
- Post your kid’s drawing on the refrigerator.
- Bring fresh picked flowers to the fire station.
- Bake a batch of cookies for your neighbor.
- Buy lunch for a coworker.
- Buy a cup of coffee for the Salvation Army bell ringer.
- Scrape the ice off your neighbor’s windshield.
- Offer to pull weeds from an elderly neighbor’s flowerbed. (or from mine, if you have no elderly neighbors – tee hee)
Twenty-one days is all it takes to incorporate these five research-based practices shown to increase happiness and productivity into your daily routine.
Have you been using the Happiness Tracker to document your progress?
How have your actions impacted your happiness?
It’s time to revisit The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire. You may recall that there is a space on the tracking sheet to record your happiness index before and after.
Print the questionnaire, answer the questions, and compare your current score to the one you recorded at the beginning of your journey to greater happiness.
I’m so excited to learn how your actions may have impacted your happiness and productivity.
Please leave a comment below describing a random act of kindness you either gave or received.
If you liked this post, you may enjoy these, as well.