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Doing kind things actually makes you happier, according to science

Indy 100 logoIndy 100 5 days ago Mimi Launder
© Provided by Independent Print Limited

The pursuit of happiness is seen as among the most elusive of human endeavours. Countless self-help books and movies later, we seem no closer to contentment - but the key to merriment might be simpler than we think.

We might want that shiny new perfume or pair of high-end jeans for ourselves, but splashing the cash on someone else will make you feel better in the long-run, found researchers in a recent study. 

In the experiment, one group of participants were told to generously spend money on something nice for someone else. Another group were instructed only to spend money on themselves.

Despite being poorer, the selfless group were the happier participants. During the experiment, areas of their brain gave off a "warm glow" when they felt rewarded for being nice to others.

For the stingier among us, here's the best news of all: it doesn't matter how generous the act is, they will all generate the same degree of cheeriness. 

In a statement to Psychology Today, lead researcher Philippe Tobler said: 

You don't need to become a self-sacrificing martyr to feel happier. Just being a little more generous will suffice. 

It turns out loving your neighbour is a form of self-love too. 

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