Random acts of kindness uplift people and yourself way more than you know, according to new research from The University of Texas at Austin. People tend to underestimate how good their acts of kindness make the recipients feel. This is one reason why acts of kindness are somewhat rare. Acts like giving a friend a ride or bringing food for a sick family member.
Even though these acts of kindness often increase happiness, people tend to underestimate how good they make recipients feel.
The research that was conducted by Amit Kumar, an assistant professor of marketing at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, and Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago found that while those who are giving tend to concentrate on the thing that they are giving or the action that they are performing, those who are receiving tend to focus on the feelings of warmth that the act of kindness has conjured up.
Because of this, givers’ “miscalibrated expectations” might stop them from helping, giving or donating more. The study’s results are now published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
A number of studies were carried out by the researchers in order to put a numerical value on these mentalities and actions.
In the first study, 84 people were enlisted as subjects from the neighborhood of Maggie Daley Park in Chicago. The participants were given the options. They have options like keeping the cup of hot chocolate they purchased from the food shop in the park for themselves or giving it away to a random person. Seventy-five people were in favor of giving it away.
A study finds that random acts of kindness uplift people and yourself way more than you know.
After the researchers had given the stranger their mug of hot chocolate, they informed them that the participant in the study had decided to offer them their beverage. After receiving the drink, the receivers were asked to describe how they were feeling. The performers were asked to indicate how they believed the recipients were feeling.
Performers failed to recognize the significance of what they were doing. On a scale from -5 (much more negative than usual) to 5 (much more positive than usual). They thought the average mood of the receivers would be 2.7. However, the average mood of the receivers was 3.5.
Kumar remarked that “people aren’t that far off base.” They understand that being helpful to other people makes them feel better about themselves. What we don’t understand is how much joy it brings to the lives of other people.
In the same park, the researchers also conducted a test identical to the one described above using cupcakes. They ended up recruiting two hundred individuals and splitting them up into two groups.
Fifty people who participated in the control group were each given a cupcake as a thank-you for their time. They reported how they were feeling. The other fifty participants rated how they imagined the recipients of the cupcakes had been feeling. This is after receiving one.
In the second group of one hundred people, fifty were told that they could offer their cupcakes. This is to people they didn’t know. They considered not only their own mood but also the mood of the cupcake recipients. The researchers discovered that participants’ ratings of the happiness of cupcake recipients were roughly the same.
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Investigating the effect of Kindness in a controlled setting
This is regardless of how the recipients obtained their treats. That is, whether it was through an act of random kindness or directly from the researchers. In addition, those who were given a cupcake as a result of an act of kindness reported higher levels of happiness. This was more compared to those from the control group.
“Performers are not fully considering that their warm performances give value from the act itself,” Kumar says.
The fact that you are kind to other people brings a lot of value to whatever it is that you’re doing. This is regardless of what it is.
The effects of being nice were investigated by Kumar and Epley in a controlled setting. This is done through the use of a laboratory experiment. The participants began by either purchasing a present from the laboratory store or being given one by another participant before moving on to the game itself.
Everyone who took part in the research and got something was given the instruction to split $100 between themselves and a third person who was not identified.
The researchers discovered that receivers who had gotten their lab present through another participant’s random act of kindness were more charitable to strangers throughout the game. They distributed the $100 in a manner that was more equitable. That is, giving out $48.02 on average as opposed to $41.20.
It seems that kindness may in fact spread from one person to another, said Kumar. “Those who have benefited from a mundane act can pay it forward. It is possible for kindness to spread.”
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The practice of being kind as a way of life
Even when we are not physically there to help those in need by serving meals in soup kitchens or providing medical care to injured civilians in conflict zones, this does not preclude us from engaging in acts of kindness.
Serving those who are less fortunate or in need or working full-time for a nonprofit or service organization that helps and supports many important and admirable causes are both good things that should be encouraged.
That is certainly a great way to live. That is, one that is devoted to treating other sentient creatures with compassion and consideration.
But the vast majority of us who are just going about our normal, daily lives can still make kindness our way of life. This is done by simply engaging with other people in a kind way. That is, by thinking kind thoughts and by speaking and acting in a kind manner. This is an endeavor that may be undertaken by anyone.
It has been said that all it takes to make life meaningful is “a kind look, a nice smile, and one decent act.” And each of us can make our lives much more meaningful. This is done by making people smile and being kind and generous in small ways.
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Develop the practice of welcoming people
Develop the practice of welcoming people in a warm and pleasant manner. Also, welcome them with a genuine grin whenever you see them. When we make someone else happy, it not only enhances their day, but it also makes our own days happier and more optimistic!
“It’s the little things that count. Too often, we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile and a kind word. Even underestimate a listening ear, an honest remark, or the most simple act of compassion,” said the late Dr. Leo Buscaglia, author of several books on love and kindness.
We have the ability to profoundly affect people’s lives with the simplest of actions. Think about the number of times you’ve been affected by a thoughtful comment or a simple act of kindness. That, even today, when you recall them, still gives you a warm feeling in your heart or makes you smile.
Make it a point to remember the many different acts of kindness, no matter how great or small, that you have received from other people and send good wishes, to those kind souls.
Share to your friends that random acts of kindness uplift people and themselves way more than they know.