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Research questions:

  • does being kind/helping others make you feel better?
  • Do you feel better when you are on the receiving end of kindness?

Background here.

MethodLibby investigates by attempting a daily random act of kindness and noting the impact on mood. Received kindness is similarly noted.

Results: This was a one-week experiment, starting 13/1/15. The spreadsheet below lists the acts of kindness and how I felt about them.

Discussion: The results were a mixture of feeling pleased about some acts of kindness, and guilty about others (because I felt they should have been done earlier/anyway), which was unexpected. The most pleasing acts were committed when nobody else knew about them. The other surprising finding is how difficult it seemed to think of kind acts to commit. The week coincided with a spell of low mood, which may be important. Perhaps kind acts reinforce positive mood states, but have little effect – or even a worsening effect – on negative mood.
Conclusion: more investigation needed.

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