Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Another Study Shows the Benefits of Kindness

Kindness. From On the Fence with Jesus.
Longtime readers probably know that acts of kindness can improve your mood over the long term, but here's another study to heap on the pile of evidence. The Globe and Mail reports on a York University study that monitored 700 people as they performed small acts of kindness over the course of a week. Participants helped other people for 5-15 minutes a day, and still felt the positive mood effects six months later compared to a control group.

The researchers first evaluated participants' levels of depression, happiness, and self-esteem, then evaluated them again four more times over the six-month period. Lead author Myriam Mongrain says, "What’s amazing is that the time investment required for these changes to occur is so small. We’re talking about mere minutes a day."

Mongrain theorizes that compassion boosts our mood because it gives us meaning and self esteem. "If you make a conscious decision to not be so hard on others," she says, "it becomes easier to not be so hard on yourself. Furthermore, providing support to others often means that we will get support back. That is why caring for and helping others may be the best possible thing we can do for ourselves. On a less selfish level, there is something intrinsically satisfying about helping others and witnessing their gratitude."

You can read the actual study in a forthcoming issue of The Journal of Happiness Studies. Read more about this general topic in my blog post here.


  1. I like the new findings about the old topic, so to say.

  2. Yup! New studies can also bring attention to the topic for people who missed it the first time around.