"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
— The Dalai Lama
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Though there is some debate, most researchers agree that compassion is associated with better short and long-term mental and physical health. So, can changing your daily behaviors to include more compassionate acts increase your overall happiness? Researchers have shown that, yes, in fact it will.
In the article "Practicing Compassion Increases Happiness and Self Esteem", psychologists Myriam Mongrain, Jacqueline Chin and Leah Shapira studied the relationship between compassion and well-being. They recruited 719 people as young as 17 to as old as 72 years to take part in a compassion intervention. They explain that "participants in the compassion group were required to interact with someone in a supportive and caring way [i.e., to act compassionately towards someone for 5-15 minutes] on a daily basis for 1 week." The researchers noted examples of compassion included "talking with a homeless person" or "simply being more loving to those around you." The compassionate action exercise was "compared to an early memories control condition in which participants [wrote] a detailed description of an early memory on a daily basis for 1 week."
The study examined reported depression, self-esteem, and happiness, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months after the experiment. Even though the compassion exercise only lasted 1 week, those in the compassionate action group were found to have significantly higher happiness and self-esteem, and lower depression, six months later. So in just 15 minutes a day, you could potentially raise your happiness.
At BeyondThePurchase.Org we help people understand the relationship between money and happiness. To better understand the benefits of specific consumer choices, we continue to investigate the relationships between consumer preferences, psychological needs, happiness, and values at our website by allowing people to take tests on personality. To learn about what might be influencing how you think about and spend your money, register with Beyond The Purchase, then take a few of our personality quizzes:
Can money buy happiness? Take our experiential buying survey and on your feedback page you will learn how to spend your money to be happier.
How do I find happiness in life? Take our happiness quiz and find out your happiness score.
Is shopping an addiction? Take the compulsive buying scale and learn about your spending habits. We think you may learn a lot about what causes you to part with your hard-earned money.
With these insights, you can better understand the ways in which your financial decisions affect your happiness. Responses to these surveys will also help researchers further understand the connection between money and happiness.