We recently celebrated Random Acts of Kindness Day by DIY’ing flower bouquets for our besties and co-workers and we’re still high on those giving-back vibes. Which is why we’re so psyched to learn that those generous gestures are actually great for our own well-being. A recent study found that when spouses do something sweet for their S.O., it has a marked effect on their own emotional state, whether or not their boo even notices the act. Get ready to add a new romantic resolution to your list.
The University of Rochester study asked 175 newlywed couples to keep a daily journal for two weeks and record any instances that they or their S.O. “put aside personal wishes in order to meet the partner’s needs,” as well as their daily emotional states based on 14 pre-set emotions (happy, hurt, enthusiastic, etc.). The researchers wanted to see if there was a correlation between selfless acts and positive emotions.
Prior to the study, the researchers predicted the relationship between compassionate acts and positive well-being would be strongest when the donor received recognition and validation for their act from their partner. While that was true, they also found that there was a high instance of happiness on the donor’s side even when their partner didn’t acknowledge the compassionate gesture or even realize they’d done something nice. Basically, while the recipient obviously has to notice the gesture to emotionally benefit from it, the donor doesn’t need that recognition to feel the positive effects.
And even when the partner did recognize the act of kindness, the benefits were still 45 percent greater for the person actually being compassionate — man or woman — than for the partner who received it. As the study’s lead and psychology professor at the University of Rochester, Harry Reis, says: “Acting compassionately may be its own reward.” So go forth and do something sweet for your partner today.
What’s the last compassionate act you did for your S.O.? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know what you love to do for bae!
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