Two Effective Strategies for Increasing Happiness
Random Acts of Kindness and Expressing Gratitude
desire to be happy is perhaps the most universal goal human beings share.
Empirical evidence shows that although individuals worldwide wish for
ever-greater happiness, their pursuits fall short of being successful.
Thankfully, new research in the field of psychology suggests that individuals
can use specific cognitive and behavior strategies to increase their level of
Professor Meliksah Demir and colleagues at Northern Arizona University (NAU)
have identified two happiness-increasing strategies to increase an individual’s
level of happiness and wellbeing: participating in random acts of kindness and
developing a sense of gratitude. Both strategies
have successfully increased the level of happiness in individuals. Although other studies have reported the
positive effect of these strategies, this research is the first time their
short- and long-term effects have been studied.
Implementing happiness interventions
Individuals were asked to implement what the
researchers called “happiness interventions”—simple changes in everyday
behavior and thinking that would increase levels of happiness. For one month,
95 individuals documented their gratitude (wrote about it) and engaged in
random acts of kindness.
“Collectively, our findings suggest that
happiness interventions work, and individuals can move above their baseline
levels of happiness and maintain these benefits for at least six weeks.”
individuals who participated in the happiness interventions had a significant
positive increase in their levels of happiness. “Collectively, our findings
suggest that happiness interventions work, and individuals can move above their
baseline levels of happiness and maintain these benefits for at least six
weeks,” reports Dr. Demir. Both the cognitive (gratitude) and behavioral
(kindness) aspects of the intervention were equal in promoting happiness.
Anyone can use happiness interventions
results are duplicable, and happiness interventions can be used by anyone at
any time. A manuscript reporting the project
findings will be submitted for publication in the Journal of Positive Psychology