Have you ever noticed how quickly our dogs will wag their tails? Even just the sight of you will make them eagerly start wagging their tails back and forth. When you start preparing their next meal, get their leash out for a walk, or say their name, the same response happens – their tail wags. For them, this tail wagging is a sign of appreciation and gratitude – a thank you for being there and being a friend.
And, most importantly, it’s a sign that another act of kindness is sure to come, whether in the form of a paw, a wet nose, or an ear ready to listen.
Our dogs show kindness each and every day by being our constant companions.
How Small Acts of Kindness Change the World
Think of the last time you were on the receiving end of a kind act. How did it make you feel? Chances are, it made you want to do nice for someone, too. When driving through to pick up a coffee, if you hear that the person in front of you paid for your coffee, you’re likely to feel compelled to do the same for the person behind you.
Kindness compels reciprocity, which is why it’s so powerful.
According to James Fowler, a professor of medical genetics and political science at the University of California, the name for this need to reciprocate an act of kindness is “upstream reciprocity”, which is basically like a domino effect of good deeds.
Why Being Kind Feels So Good
Your brain doesn’t differentiate between doing a good deed and being the recipient of a good deed. In both cases, the reward centers of your brain light up in the same way – and with the same intensity. Our dogs are a great example of this: It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing something nice for them or if they’re doing something for you – they’re happy either way.
So, if you want to increase your overall happiness, being kind to others might just be the best way to get there. In fact, according to a 2010 Harvard Business School survey about happiness, in all of the 136 countries that participated, the happiest people overall were those who were altruistic.
Be Hachi. Be Happy.
Our dogs are wonderful examples for how to live a better, more fulfilling, and HAPPIER life. They don’t live by constraints or limiting beliefs – they KNOW there is enough of everything to go around, and they’re happy to share each and every day. The more we can embrace the giving nature of our Hachi friends, the better the world will be for everyone.
So, the next time you are considering whether you should or shouldn’t do something nice for someone else, whether you feel like you are short on time or money or just don’t feel like it, remember this:
Being kind makes you feel good. And, if you want proof, just look at that wagging tail on your dog!