There is one that I believe everyone should do. It's called giving! Donating your skills, time, or money will improve your life, and make you happy.
And it's not just for people who believe they are "selfless." Giving to others is a two way street, with benefits for the helper and the helped!
I'm bipolar, and I've got super treatment resistant depression. Generosity towards others is one of the few things that can pull me out of those dark depths.
Giving. Donating. Volunteering. YA!
"How to buy happiness" by Michael Norton
This TED talk is by a researcher who discovered that giving things to others makes us much happier than if we give to ourselves.
He also found that buying yourself things doesn't make you happier.
Isn't that great? An excuse for anyone to give...and it helps everyone involved.
What surprised me the most is that the amount you give is less important than how often. If you're mainly concerned with your own happiness, then giving less but doing it more often is by far a "better deal"
Several Kinds of pro-Social Spending
In the video they also explored what happens when teams of people pooled their money to buy something as a team—for the team to enjoy. The groups who engaged in these kinds of activities were more successful at reaching their goals.
That means, for sports teams, more wins. For office teams, more high quality productivity. And of course, more friends.
You got that right. Happier people and higher collective productivity and success.
Plus, you're happier, so your personal success is bumped up too. :D
How I'm Changing My Generosity
I'm changing my helping behaviors!
I'm planning on giving more often in smaller amounts. I'd also like to tap into these realities about team-building spending.
I already donate a percentage of each sale: When I make a sale, I'll probably walk right up to Ginny's Helping Hand in Leominster, and write them a cheque—rather than writing a big one occasionally.
Does Giving Really Work?
Don't believe research about social issues?
Anecdotal stuff: I can say that giving changed my life. It helps my depression a lot. It gives me energy and makes me appreciate more how awesome the world is (by helping to make it better!)
It doesn't take much. A regular, small investment of time, money, or skills can change your life.
Some of us can't afford to give money away, but a lot of us are pretty wasteful with our resources. This is a great excuse to be more efficient with your bills, and giving some/all of that to someone who needs it. You'll be happier.
What is more sought after than happiness?