Engaging in deliberate acts of kindness leads to improved happiness. It’s a proven fact. Performing just one act of kindness per day reduces levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, by our bodies becoming flooded with the hormones responsible for making us happier and healthier. Those hormones include serotonin, which helps us relax and feel good, endorphins, which boost happiness and reduce emotional stress, and oxytocin, which promotes feelings of love and social bonding. With increased happiness, comes improved well-being, and what’s better than improving one person’s well-being? Improving two peoples’ well-being. Not only does your body become flooded with those advantageous hormones, but the body of the person who you’re helping does too. Witnessing an act of kindness is also contagious; it’s a virus that you actually want to catch. Seeing someone perform an act of kindness significantly increases that person’s chance of spreading kindness to others, infecting them with behaviors through which new individuals can express.

With a cascade of happiness at our fingertips, we ask, if being kind is easy, then why don’t we do it more often? Engaging in simple acts of kindness and improving happiness is a chain reaction, and all it takes is one person to start. Follow the mental techniques below so that you can achieve a happier mindset just by being kind, and the rest of the world might follow. Remember, it costs nothing to be nice.

Create a Kinder Inner Mindset

Before being a catalyst of kindness to the world, express your kindness inwards. Sometimes being kind to others is easier than being kind to ourselves, and that’s okay. Tapping into the love that we have for ourselves takes practice, so take a seat in an upright position, and close your eyes as you slowly inhale and exhale. Imagine someone you have strong feelings for: a partner, friend, or even furry companion. Envision the love that he or she gives you, and focus on the positive feelings welling up inside you. Use your inner voice to send them good wishes, such as, “may you always feel fulfilled.” Then, widen those wishes to include yourself: “may we always feel fulfilled.” Repeat this. Feel the love that you have for your loved one and extend it onto yourself by imagining the two of you sitting like a reflection before you. Re-focus your wishful mantra onto yourself: “may I always feel fulfilled.”  Let those words resonate with you, as the love that you have for your loved one, and for yourself, become a caring embrace. When you’re ready to open your eyes, your inner mindset will have become kinder. You’ll be more inclined to spread kindness to others, and to yourself.

Grow Your Generous Well-Being

Like those who are kind, generous individuals feel more at peace and productive in their daily lives. Train yourself to feel more generous towards yourself and others, and you’ll be more motivated to carry out some serious positive deeds. Settle into a seated position, and feel gravity hold you in place. Bring your mind to a time when someone was generous to you, like when your friend gave you her time to listen to you vent, or when your co-worker surprised you with your favorite Frappuccino. Recreate the scene in your mind. Where are you? Who is with you? Imagine that you are there now, and get curious about what generosity feels like in your body. Does it have a location? Does it move? Next, recall a time that you were generous, and capture the scene in great detail. What can you see? What can you hear?  Remember how it felt to be generous, and then let that scene go. Ask yourself, if you could do the most generous thing in the world for a loved one, what would it be? Who would it be for? How would it feel? Connect with those feelings and allow yourself to be filled with boundless generosity. Once you’re ready to let that scene go, focus on your breathing as it comes to a natural rhythm. Enjoy your newfound generosity.

Express Your Gratitude

There is a powerful link between practicing gratitude and feeling happy. Counting one’s blessings can lead to a more optimistic view of life and effortless positive thinking. You can practice gratitude, as well as kindness, by using your gratitude to express an act of kindness. What are you most grateful for about the person you spend most of your time with? Jot those reasons down. Reflection is a powerful tool, but expressing gratitude is where happiness thrives. So text a small thank you note, or leave a thank you post-it where your work buddy can see. Offer to walk your roommate’s dog, or surprise your best friend with her favorite meal. You’ll not only make someone else’s day, but yours as well.

To Sum Up:

Kindness is a proven contributor to happiness; the kinder you are to others, the happier you’ll be. For more suggestions like the ones above, check out exercises like “Cultivate Compassion” and “Praise, Praise, “Praise” on the Mindshine app. With mental fitness made easy, go out and fill up the world with some good. We promise it will make you happier.