Give ...

Human beings have evolved as part of communities: and being part of good, supportive relationships are key to our survival. Good supportive relationships are reciprocal and whilst receiving support and care makes us feel good, so does caring for others. As Action for Happiness puts it: ' . .. caring about others is fundamental to our happiness . .. ' . Doing things for other people is a very powerful way to feel happier and can improve mental well-being.

There are many ways of giving. Many of us give money to charity, but the giving I'm talking about here is wider than this. We can give our time, ideas, energy, enthusiasm and leadership. This doesn't have to be a big thing, or even a regular commitment. We can ensure - in the spirit of 'five a day' - that we do at least something every day to boost well-being: small, often unplanned acts to help strangers, family, friends, colleagues or neighbours. Even a small gesture such as giving someone directions to their destination can make us feel good. These suggestions are not merely nice ideas. Research evidence shows that helping others improves our own happiness. Helping other people can lead to supportive reciprocal relationships, increase our own feelings of competence, improve our mood and reduce stress.

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