The Happiness Connection  

Be kind, get happy

Have you ever been to the TELUS Convention Centre in Calgary?

It is a wonderful facility with a warren of corridors, escalators and rooms.

I was there speaking at the Calgary teachers convention, and trying to find my way to the speakers’ lounge.

As I exited one building, a young woman who was a reasonable distance in front of me, waited for me outside, and apologized for not holding the door for me. I assured her that there was no reason for her to have waited for me.

As we walked across the road to enter the next building of the convention centre, we struck up a conversation.

When the time came to part ways, we both smiled and wished each other a good day.

A fleeting connection had been made, and a feeling of happiness created.

This chance conversation came about because this lady felt she should have held the door for me.

She wanted to perform a simple act of kindness.

Knowing that she wanted to extend this courtesy made me feel good.

Random acts of kindness are powerful providers of positivity, both for the receiver and the giver. There is an endless list of deeds that would be classed as happiness-boosting acts of kindness.

As long as you do something that’s good for another person, and it doesn’t benefit you in any way, it fits into this classification.

A few examples are: Buy coffee for someone. This could be for a stranger, perhaps the person behind you in the java line, or for a friend.

Buying coffee because it is your turn may be an act of kindness, but does not fit into the happiness boosting type. It is expected not random.

Hold the door open for another person. Smile at someone you pass in the street.

Shovel the snow off the driveway of your neighbour. Pay someone a compliment.

Help the person who is struggling to reach an item off the top shelf at the supermarket.

The person who receives your kindness will feel happier, and you will most definitely benefit from a lasting boost of positivity.

I encourage you to add random acts of kindness to your life, but there are a few conditions you need to be aware of.

The act needs to be random rather than a habit.

Don’t decide that Monday morning is the day you will buy coffee for the person standing behind you in line.

That is a nice thing to do, but it won’t provide you the jolt of happiness, random acts will.

If you decide to buy coffee for someone every week, keep the timing unpredictable.

You need to be mindful of choosing to do something nice just before you do it.

Keep your eyes open for opportunities.

It doesn’t count as a random act of kindness unless you are the instigator; the decision needs to come from you.

This is especially important if you are trying to encourage your children to commit these acts.

If you ask your son to open the door for the elderly lady in front of you, it won’t have the same happiness effect as if he had decided to open the door without you suggesting it.

Your child needs to come up with the idea and follow through with it themselves.

When we make another person feel happy, there is a temptation to tell others what we did, but don’t give into that desire. Telling others what you did can result in them making you feel good about it, and remember, random acts of kindness need to only benefit the recipient, not you.

I find it amazing that such a simple thing can contribute so strongly to how happy you feel.

Give it a try. Challenge yourself to make this part of your everyday life.

Do something kind for another person, and enjoy a lasting boost in your mood.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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