Happiness is like a kiss. You must share it to enjoy it.”
—Bernard Meltzer (Radio Host, 1916-1998)
Have you ever shared a story because it made you smile? Ever find yourself walking by a stranger and flashing a smile? What about watching someone dig for change and giving some of your own to cover the rest of their purchase?
Research proves that sharing in all its forms is a truly powerful way to bring happiness. You can share things that are special to you—like a book, a tool or even a recipe. Or you can share a smile, a special event in your life, or even your affection.
Sharing is fundamental to the development of all human relationships and civilizations. We begin learning to share as soon as we are able to communicate. Often it begins with our parents teaching us the importance of sharing a toy with a friend. In the mind of a toddler, this idea seems absurd at first. They are thinking, “Why would I want to give up this awesome thing I’m playing with?” But even at that young age, they quickly realize the payoff. And what is it? It is the joy they feel when they see the happiness they have brought someone else.
Not only does sharing bring us joy, it teaches us the importance of taking care of others. In many cultures, it is quite common to share your home with your elders. But sharing doesn’t have to be a grand gesture to be appreciated. It can be as simple as sharing something you feel with someone, like a compliment. “You look so pretty today,” is one example. Those simple words can often make someone feel special and cared for, and in return, make the one who said them happy. Sharing is truly a win-win!
One of the best things you can share with others is your own happiness. Tell them what made you happy and why. Your story just might inspire a change in them.
A study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships determined that sharing our good news provides us with an extra dose of positive emotion, more than merely recalling it or writing about it. The research also determined other benefits of sharing a positive experience, such as making it easier to remember, the opportunity to learn new positive implications of our news from another’s perspective, and the extra joy we feel when making another person happy through our good news.
The next time something good happens to you, don’t keep it to yourself. Share it—because just like smiling, happiness can be contagious!