Can Being Nice to Others Help Beat the Blues? See What Science Says!

Depression is a widespread issue that affects millions of people worldwide. Many individuals try various medications to manage their depression symptoms, but often, these medications can lead to unwanted side effects. Recent studies have shown that positive activities, such as acts of kindness, may provide an alternative approach to alleviating depression symptoms.

Acts of Kindness and Its Effects on Depression

Researchers have discovered that spending time thinking about the good things in life and performing acts of kindness can help a depressed person feel better. This is based on years of scientific investigations into the difference between happy people and depressed ones. According to researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky, “Over the last several decades, social psychology studies of flourishing individuals who are happy, optimistic and grateful have produced a lot of new information about the benefits of positive activity interventions on mood and well-being.”

One such study suggested that writing thank you notes, meditating on positive feelings, and realizing one’s talents can alleviate symptoms of depression for up to six months. More trials are being conducted to determine how best to encourage patients to implement these findings into their everyday lives.

Why Do Acts of Kindness Work?

Acts of kindness can have a profound impact on one’s mental health. When you help others, your brain releases feel-good hormones, such as oxytocin and endorphins, boosting your mood and overall sense of happiness. In addition, performing acts of kindness also strengthens social connections and fosters a sense of community, which both play a significant role in one’s mental well-being.

How Can You Incorporate Acts of Kindness Into Your Life?

There are countless ways to incorporate acts of kindness into your daily routine. Here are some simple ideas to get you started:

  1. Send an uplifting message: Take a few moments to write a thoughtful message to someone who might be having a difficult time or simply needs a bit of encouragement.
  2. Compliment others: Offer sincere compliments to people you encounter throughout your day, whether it’s a coworker, neighbor, or even a stranger.
  3. Pay it forward: If you are the recipient of a kind act, make an effort to pass it on and do something nice for someone else.
  4. Volunteer: Give your time and energy to a local non-profit organization or charity. Not only will you be helping others in need, but you will also likely meet like-minded individuals who share your interest in giving back.
  5. Be attentive: Listen to the needs and concerns of others without judgment and be ready to offer support and empathy.

Remember, consistency is key. Increasing acts of kindness in your daily life can lead to long-lasting, positive impacts on your mental health.

Other Positive Activities for Combating Depression

While acts of kindness are a powerful tool in the fight against depression, they’re just one component of a holistic approach to managing the condition. Here are some additional positive activities that can help supplement acts of kindness and further improve your well-being:

  1. Regular exercise: Engaging in physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.
  2. Mindfulness practice: Practicing mindfulness, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga, can help you better manage stress and negative emotions.
  3. Healthy sleep habits: Prioritize proper sleep hygiene by having a consistent bedtime, creating a relaxing sleep environment, and refraining from stimulants and screens before bedtime.
  4. Healthy diet: What you eat has a significant effect on your mental health. Focus on a balanced diet, rich in whole foods, lean protein, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  5. Social support: Build and maintain strong relationships with friends and loved ones. Having a support network can help manage depressive symptoms and improve overall mental health.


While medications can be helpful for many people suffering from depression, those who prefer not to use them or are seeking additional methods to augment their treatment should consider incorporating acts of kindness and other positive activities into their daily routine. Over time, these simple practices can potentially lead to lasting, positive effects on mental and emotional well-being.