Being Kind Boosts Mood

Posted by Editor Kristi Heidel

The following is an excerpt from Katherine S. Nelson et al., Do unto others or treat yourself? The effects of prosocial and self-focused behavior on psychological flourishing, 16(6) Emotion 850-861 (Sept 2016). View Study Here.

…As people do nice things for others, they may feel greater joy, contentment, and love, which in turn promote greater overall well-being and improve social relationships and so on.
Indeed, substantial evidence indicates that experiencing frequent positive emotions leads people to be more trusting of others, to form more inclusive social groups, and to include others in their sense of self.

However, in contrast, doing nice things for oneself does not seem to have the same effects.
[It] does not appear to lead individuals to feel greater positive emotions and fewer negative emotions, perhaps because the hedonic benefits are short-lived and/or are neutralized by hedonic costs (like guilt).

In addition, self-focuses behaviors in the current study were often solitary and may have offered fewer opportunities to improve relationships. Indeed, including others in one’s experiences appears to be an important component for such experiences to improve well-being.

The results of this study contribute to a growing literature supporting the benefits of prosocial behavior and challenge the popular perception that focusing on oneself is an optimal strategy to boost one’s mood.
People striving for happiness may be tempted to treat themselves. Our results, however, suggest that they may be more successful if they opt to treat someone else instead.

For more detailed information on this and related topics, subscribe to our website:
Happy! Effective Lawyer  30-Day Free Trial  No Credit Card Required

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s