By Alexandra Dahl, health promotions analyst at the University Health Center
Nearly everyone likes to receive gifts, right? It makes us feel good and is proof that we are cared for, loved and appreciated. But as nice as it is to receive, giving to others can have a positive impact on your life, too.
We’ve all heard the saying “it is better to give than to receive,” but is there actual research to back this claim? Turns out, there is—lots of it.
Research on “Acts of Kindness” (doing something thoughtful for someone else—random or not) denotes that giving may actually provide more benefits for the giver than the receiver. The studies show that performing acts of kindness increases a person’s positivity, morality and overall satisfaction with life over time and decreases stress, negative emotions, anxiety and depression (Pressman, Kraft & Cross, 2015; Buchanan & Bardi, 2010; Kravovsky, 2007).
It’s Random Acts of Kindness Week! Celebrate with the University Health Center by showing kindness to others at least once every day this week. Share your kindness moments with us on Twitter by tagging us (@UNLHealthCenter) and using the hashtag #UNLRAKweek.
Not sure how to get started? Here are a few ideas of ways you can show kindness to others this week:
- Give a sincere compliment.
- Hold the door for someone else.
- Help someone carry groceries.
- Write an encouraging note to a friend.
- Treat a friend to dinner.
- Volunteer for a cause important to you.
- Send someone you love a card.
- Brush the snow/ice off someone else’s car.
- Bring a treat to your friend/partner/roommate/class.
- Cook a meal for someone else.
- Leave a server a generous tip.
- Ask someone if they need help.
- Donate gently used belongings.
- Make eye contact and smile at a stranger.
- Leave flowers for someone to find.
- Text someone wishing them a good day.
- Pay for coffee for the person behind you in line.
- Frame a picture of you and someone you care about and give it to them.
- If a friend has a difficult exam coming up, ask them how you can help.
- Ask the cashier/receptionist/person helping you how their day is going.
For more information, visit https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/. Remember to share your RAK moments with us on Twitter!
Buchanan, K. E., & Bardi, A. (2010). Acts of kindness and acts of novelty affect life satisfaction. The Journal of social psychology, 150(3), 235-237.
Krakovsky, M. (2007). The science of lasting happiness. Scientific American, 296(4), 36-38.
Pressman, S. D., Kraft, T. L., & Cross, M. P. (2015). It’s good to do good and receive good: The impact of a ‘pay it forward’style kindness intervention on giver and receiver well-being. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 10(4), 293-302.