My mother always chided me to be nice. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. After all, we all get grumpy from time-to-time and take it out on those around us.
We can see that being nice to others is good for them, but did you know it is in your best interest too? Recognizing the personal benefits of being nice might motivate us to do it a little more often like when that person cuts us off in traffic.
What does it mean to be nice?
Niceness is rather vague. What exactly does it mean to be nice?
Well, in my mind, it means being kind, generous, agreeable, pleasant, respectable, friendly, forgiving and tactful. It means going out of your way to treat others in the way that you want to be treated.
The best portion of a good man’s life – his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.
Being nice when you get cut off in traffic, means that instead of assuming the driver is an insane jerk and giving them the bird, you give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they didn’t see you or maybe they were late for a very important meeting or maybe they just made a mistake.
Why not just smile and let it go? It is good for you to be nice in these situations.
Being nice also means doing kind acts. It means volunteering, donating and pitching in to make your home, neighborhood and community a better place.
It means offering yourself to a cause that you believe to be worthwhile. This might be something big like saving the environment or little like helping your spouse carry in the groceries.
Nice is such a small word, but it has big implications. It takes a little time and effort, but it is all so incredibly worth it.
How being nice is good for you, let me count the ways
First, let me say, that I don’t mean to turn being nice into something selfish. We should certainly strive to be nice for altruistic reasons alone, but knowing the personal benefits might motivate us to be nice a little more often. That’s my intention here.
Here are ten ways that being nice is good for you:
1. Being nice leads people to like you
It is much easier to like someone that is nice. We all want friends that are kind, giving and considerate. We want and need people in our lives that support us and that will be there for us when we need them. The old saying, “Be a friend to have a friend” really holds true and research shows that those with a greater social network are often happier, healthier and more productive!
2. Kindness promotes confidence and optimism
Doing kind acts and being nice builds one’s confidence and optimism. It just makes us feel good about ourselves when we do things for others. Giving of ourselves to others builds up our positive self-image. It also gives us a sense of hope. We feel more powerful and in control when we make a positive difference in the life of another.
3. Niceness makes you feel good about yourself
Haven’t you heard that it is better to give than to receive?!? In fact, studies have shown that the giver usually has a bigger boost in positive emotions than the receiver! Being kind and nice really is good for you. It gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling all over. Of course, these positive feelings carry over into all areas of your life causing a general improvement in well-being. This translates into feeling good about yourself. What a bonus!
4. People will reciprocate in your time of need
From time-to-time, we all face challenges, disappointments and losses in our lives. When you’ve been nice to others during their struggles, it is more likely they will return the favor during your time of need. This is just human nature. Most of us feel really motivated to help those that have helped us. Stephen Covey described this as the emotional bank account.
5. Doing good deeds adds meaning and significance to your life
When you donate money to further a good cause or volunteer your time to help build a house for an underprivileged family or go visit a friend in the hospital, your life suddenly becomes much more meaningful and significant. You are making this world a slightly better place with your acts of kindness. This is valuable and it makes us feel important which is something we all want.
6. Being a volunteer can help you discover hidden talents
Volunteering is a great way to be nice. It can also help you to uncover talents you didn’t know you had. They say that necessity is the mother of invention. Well, when you put yourself in a position to see the needs of others, you might rise to the occasion and discover capabilities that you never knew you had. This can be fun and exciting!
7. Being a do-gooder relieves stress and guilt
Being nice and doing good deeds is a less stressful way to live. It creates less conflict and avoids feelings of guilt over bad behavior. In addition, the act of doing something nice for another generates those great feelings that seem to trump all that stress that we build up from daily living.
8. Helping others will make you feel thankful and advantaged
When we engage in assisting others in their time of need, we often walk away feeling better about our situation. We naturally compare our lives to those that we are helping. This comparison can leave you feeling more grateful for the life you have. You’ll be able to see just how advantaged you are!
9. Being nice fosters a greater sense of family and community
Your niceness will lead you to meet all kinds of people and get involved in a plethora of worthwhile activities. This builds a greater sense of togetherness. Even within your own family unit, you can foster an increased sense of connectedness and fondness toward one another by being extra thoughtful. Being nice has a powerful effect!
10. Engaging in generous acts distracts you from your own troubles
Doing nice things for others can serve as a useful distraction from the the challenges you face. If you are trying to quit a bad habit, then generously engage yourself in helping others to keep your mind off of smoking or eating or biting your nails. This is an excellent strategy that profits you and others!
Go be nice and you’ll experience many positive benefits!
As you can see from the list above, being nice has many benefits. Wouldn’t the world be such a better place if we were all just a little nicer today? We would all feel so much better about one another and ourselves too! I challenge you to increase your effort at being nice and see for yourself what it does for your attitude and happiness.
What other benefits are there to being nice?
Photo by bayRange