2021 has been so challenging! For many of us we thought it would be better than 2020 yet it has thrown up challenges – getting back to “normal” takes time and possibly not returning to the same start point. It seems apt to share the Action for Happiness Calendar for December, it’s main focus being kindness. This is a resource we all have the ability to put to good use.

We can be “Kind” by “Giving”

When we see someone in trouble, we instinctively want to help them – the human brain is wired to do this. We naturally want to give, and neuroscience shows the relationship of how giving prospers both the giver and the receiver. The simple act of giving triggers the likes of empathy and seeing others’ perspectives. Giving doesn’t always mean going out shopping to by a gift to give to someone. The benefits experienced in buying a gift are also experienced in volunteering or simply giving a compliment.

Giving promotes neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin – chemicals that promote happiness. These chemicals are linked to other outcomes too. Serotonin is connected to sleep, digestion, memory and learning. Oxytocin helps lower blood pressure as well as being an anti-inflammatory.

Giving also promotes co-operation amongst teams. Positive exchanges promote a sense of trust and strengthens ties to each other. Trust for many of us is a fundamental part of effective communication and teamwork. Giving, whether you are on the giving or receiving end, promotes feelings of gratitude. Researchers have found that this is a fundamental component to the happiness factor.

Research shows by cultivating gratitude in everyday life is one of the keys to increasing personal happiness. “When you express your gratitude in words or actions, you not only boost your own positivity but other people’s as well,”