Acts of kindness make you feel better than ice cream, says science
What do you do when you’ve had a bad day? A lot of people kick off their shoes, get in comfy clothes, and watch Netflix on the couch with a big bowl of ice cream. However, while that may sound like THE DREAM, it turns out that there’s something that will make you feel a whole lot better, and it doesn’t have to do with ice cream. What’s that, you ask? Being kind.
Dr. George Fieldman, altruism expert, recently chatted to The Mirror about the benefits of altruism, which he defines as, “doing something for somebody else at a cost to yourself.”
There are two different kinds of altruism, Dr. Fieldman says: reciprocal altruism, which is when you hope to get something in return, and kin altruism, which is typically done for someone you know, and you don’t expect anything back in return. “Mean and hard-bitten people are less likely to engage in random acts of kindness,” Dr. Fieldman told The Mirror. “But if life has treated us properly, we feel more inclined to help others without expecting anything in return.”
But it turns out that those “mean and hard-bitten people” are missing out on some major benefits of altruism — a happy feeling that will last a lot longer than that pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Dr. Fieldman explained that, while most “feel-good” activities lose their effect pretty soon after doing them, an act of kindness will keep on making you feel good for a while after. “If you eat a bowl of ice-cream or go to the cinema, the good feeling jumps, peaks then crashes,” he said. “An act of kindness, however, endures better, and mean people tend to feel better about themselves.”
This happy feeling is what leads to a chain of good deeds — or, as Dr. Fieldman explains, a circle. “A good deed creates a ‘virtuous circle,’ where one good deed may lead to another,” he said. “This means there are knock-on effects for civilization.”
We already knew that buying the stranger behind you a cup of coffee in the Starbucks line was a nice thing to do, but it turns out it will better your life AND civilization as a whole. You know, NBD. We’re starting to get super excited for World Kindness Day in November, but in the meantime, let’s start this kindness chain now. And don’t worry, you can still totally eat that delicious bowl of ice cream. Like, come on, it’s ice cream.
[Image via FOX]