Tag Archives: acts of kindness

Happiness Experiment No 37: make a difference

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” Mahtma Gandhi

Most people would agree that changing the world for the better would be a good thing to do but where should you start?  Ending world poverty, creating world peace, ending discrimination, saving the environment they are all important goals but what difference can I make? Stephen Covey, the famous author of The 7 Habits of Effective People argued that “.. one person can be a change catalyst, a ‘transformer’ in any situation, any organization.  Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf.”  Making a difference can start with one person and that one person can become a small group. Each of those small groups had one person who inspired them.  As Margaret Mead said:

“Never underestimate the power of a small group of people to change the world. In fact, it is the only way it ever has.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson stated that: “The purpose of life is not to be happy.… Read the rest...

Part 4 of A Declaration of Courage – 366 Days of Kindness

As I continue with my month of courage, in which I try out things which take me out of my comfort zone, one of the things I decided to do was to attend events which interested me even if none of my friends were available to join me.  Although I would quite happily go for a coffee alone or travel abroad alone for some reason I had a fixed mindset when it came to going to the theatre or an event on my own.  A couple of weeks ago, I decided to take the plunge and went to the theatre on my own to see the brilliant 366 Days of Kindness show at Stratford Circus Theatre.

The show was written and performed by Bernadette Russell and Gareth Brierley and tells the story of Bernadette’s quest to practice an act of kindness every day for a year starting on 18th August 2011. If you get a chance to see the show, it is currently touring until May 2014.  It struck me while watching the show that Bernadette was actually pretty courageous so I thought she would be a great person to … Read the rest...

21 Habits of Supremely Happy People

This article by  which was published in The Huffington Post on 16th September is a great summary of some happiness habits which are definitely worth acquiring.  Enjoy!

happiness habits

Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, theorizes that while 60 percent of happiness is determined by our genetics and environment, the remaining 40 percent is up to us.

In his 2004 Ted Talk, Seligman describes three different kinds of happy lives: The pleasant life, in which you fill your life with as many pleasures as you can, the life of engagement, where you find a life in your work, parenting, love and leisure and the meaningful life, which “consists of knowing what your highest strengths are, and using them to belong to and in the service of something larger than you are.”

After exploring what accounts for ultimate satisfaction, Seligman says he was surprised. The pursuit of pleasure, research determined, has hardly any contribution

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1000 cups of kindness

Have you heard about the latest exhibition at the Foundling Museum in London?  I think it is genius.  It is an unusual exhibition which is banking on your cooperation for its success.  The exhibition features the work of British ceramic artist Clare Twomey and the show centres on 1000 identical cups and saucers, each with an inscription between the base of the cup and the plate of a good deed.

Would you be willing to perform a mystery good deed in exchange for a work of art? Don’t just expect to turn up and be offered one as only a certain number of visitors will get the chance to pledge their willingness to perform an act of kindness.

Clare Twomey ‘s inspiration for this exhibition is the museum’s social history collection. The Foundling Museum tells the story of the first hospital for abandoned children founded by Thomas Coram in 1739. Along with works of art by William Hogarth and other founding benefactors, the musuem’s… Read the rest...

Less is more: a week of living below the poverty line

This week in support of my husband, and possibly against my better judgement, I decided to spend  5 days living below the poverty line spending just £1 per day on all food and drink.  This challenge to Live below the line has been set up to to support many UK and international charities who focus on helping to make a real change in the lives of the 1.4 billion people, both here and around the world, who are currently living in extreme poverty. I became aware of and hugely inspired by the blog: A Girl Called Jack and decided to take up the challenge for just 5 days.Take a look at Hugh Jackman’s invitation to take up the challenge:

I chose to spend the week living below the line in order to support the work of Progressio, an international development charity which my husband is proud to work for.  There was a part of me which felt that this was a bit of an exercise in “playing at being poor” à la Marie-Antoinette who famously said about… Read the rest...

21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity

As yesterday’s blog post was about practising acts of kindness I thought it would be a good idea to share this image series of 21 pictures that will restore your faith in humanity which were compiled by Jack Shepherd from Buzzfeed.  Do you have any stories about acts of kindness which you would like to share?

1. This picture of Chicago Christians who showed up at a gay pride parade to apologize for homophobia in the Church.

(Michelle Gantner / Maladjusted Media)

(Michelle Gantner / Maladjusted Media)

 … and the reaction from the parade.

2. This story about Japanese senior citizens who volunteered to tackle the nuclear crisis at Fukushima power station so that young people wouldn’t have to subject themselves to radiation.

3. This picture of two Norwegian guys rescuing a sheep from the ocean.

4. This sign at an awesome bookshop.

5. This poll about what Snooki should name her child.

This poll about what Snooki should name her child.

6. The moment in which this Ohio athlete

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Happiness Experiment No 6: Acts of Kindness

“Thousands of candles can be lit from one single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.  Happiness never decreases by being shared.” Buddha

When is the last time you helped someone? Whether it was a large gesture or something small that brightened another person’s day, how did it make you feel?

The psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky instructed participants in a study to to practice acts of kindness during each week either for people they knew personally or for strangers. The acts of kindness could be carried out either openly or secretly and could be either spontaneous or planned.  The study demonstrated that the participants enjoyed a significant increase in their well-being.  The participants who were asked to constantly vary their acts of kindness and to carry them out on one single day of the week rather than spreading them over the week benefitted the most.

Try out this happiness experiment for yourself:… Read the rest...

Wish yourself a happy New Year at any time of the year

Like many people I started the year with many good intentions and quickly found that life got in the way.  I wrote this article at the beginning of 2012 with the aim of featuring it in my brand new blog about positive psychology, which I had great intentions of setting up in January. We are now in May and thanks to my decision to sign up for the Thirty Day Challenge with http://www.screwworkletsplay.com/  I have finally set up my blog The Happiness Experiment. It is never too late to have a happy New Year and it is never too soon to start your own journey to happiness.  This article shares some insight in to my own personal journey to happiness and future articles will share some more of the lessons I have learned along the way.  I continue to experiment daily with the lessons of positive psychology and would encourage you to try some experiments too. We are all responsible for our own happiness and like me you have the ability to significantly increase… Read the rest...