Be Kind, Be Happy

Why Kindness Matters…

I’ve had bad days. Bad mood days. What did Holly Golightly call them? The “mean reds” or something like that. A day of being petty and jealous. When I’ll do or say something cruel, just because I can. And I get a little buzz from it, then I always feel awful. The worse I feel, the meaner I am. It’s one of those awful Catch-22s. Sometimes I would say something mean or cutting to someone – an offhand remark that didn’t mean much to me but probably left the person feeling gutted – just to be funny or clever. One day it dawned on me, how do I leave people feeling? Did I want to be the person that made another feel bad? No! Now when I interact with someone, at the gym, at the airport, on the plane, in a cab, out to dinner, on set, or on the phone, I strive to leave each encounter on a high note. What I mean is that I want the person I’m interacting with to feel better about themselves, not worse. And certainly I don’t want to be the cause of any sadness. We’ve all had friends in our lives who make us feel like the most beautiful, amazing person on the planet. We can’t get enough of that friend. And we’ve also experienced the opposite. Someone who makes us feel just a little worse to make themselves feel better. I want to be the person that leaves people feeling better. This doesn’t mean I spread cheer everywhere I go, or that I’m inauthentic in my interactions. It just means, I take care to smile or say something about that person that’s kind and true. And I benefit most of all. I’m happier. I don’t worry that I’ve offended someone or behaved badly. I don’t feel shame or guilt from acting out.

Practicing kindness during the busy holiday season is a great way to exercise that muscle.

Practicing kindness means being happier. Happier people are more successful. If you are kind to the world, you are more successful in your life and your work.

Studies consistently prove that we are happier when we are kind to people. Performing good deeds make us feel better, and they make us more successful humans. Successful on all levels. The kinder we are to others – let’s include plants, animals and people in this – the better we feel about ourselves. And when you feel good, you accomplish more, people like you more, and the world goes out of its way to make your life more easeful.

Kindness is love. In fact, the definition of LOVE in Buddhism is wanting others to be happy. A clear path to happiness is finding a way to love and share love. Practicing a little kindness daily goes a long way towards sharing love. Our core energy is love. Our core selves are love and kindness. So, if we practice kindness, we are brought back to ourselves in the most magical way. Similar to practicing gratitude. The more grateful you are, the more you have to be grateful for. The kinder you are, the more kindness comes your way, and the more you are your true self.

Not only is it important for us to be kind to each other, to children, to the animals in our lives, to strangers, to our loved ones, to our friends and work colleagues, and to the land we live on, but it’s important to teach kids to be kind too. We’re raising the next generation right now. Children benefit greatly from learning to perform acts of kindness.

“A recent study, Kindness Counts, conducted by researchers from the University of British Columbia and the University of California, Riverside, broke new ground by showing the benefits derived by tweens when they were taught happiness-increasing strategies. For a month, several hundred 9-11 year-olds performed and recorded three acts of kindness each week for anyone they wished. Another several hundred kept track of three pleasant places they visited during the week.

Not surprisingly, the results were consistent with adult studies. When kids performed acts of kindness or took notice of the pleasant places they visited during the week, they significantly increased feelings of happiness and satisfaction.” (By Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D., from Psychology Today)

By being kinder, more generous in your life, you take control over your own happiness. In fact, the biggest winners in this kindness game are the ones practicing the kindness.

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About the Author: Tania Van Pelt is the creator of Happiness Series. She is a writer and content creator, working in film, tv, and online. She wrote the popular lifestyle book "Ageless Diet," published in late 2015. And she is currently working on her next book. She also developed a sitcom pilot set in the restaurant business called "Employees Only TV" and is developing another web series comedy about Denver.