Random acts of kindness make grey nomads happy!

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Grey nomads and acts of kindness
‘Let me give you a hand with that, mate! It will help us both.’

Discovering for themselves the fabled camaraderie of the road is one of the things that grey nomads most look forward to as they set off on the Big Lap.

Most quickly find their fellow travellers are generally a genial bunch, happy to have a chat at the amenities block, or perhaps gather under an awning for a drink or two or a game of cards. And while grey nomads may have a reputation for grumpiness in some quarters, the laughing, smiling, chatting evidence on display at most caravan parks and camping areas paints a very different picture.

And this friendliness often spills over into acts of kindness. Whether it is helping to fix a punctured tyre, or offering some mechanical advice, or ‘keeping an eye’ on an unattended rig, these gestures come naturally and without any desire for getting something in return.

But new research shows that all of those travellers prone to commit random acts of kindness do actually get some reward … they’re happier! Michael Norton from the Harvard Business School conducted research that showed conclusively that people who spent a bigger proportion of their income on others tended to be far happier, in the long run, than those spending it on themselves.

“Across all countries – rich or poor, and in every continent – people who gave more tended to be happier people,” said Mr Norton, leading him to conclude that the joy of giving appears to be a ‘psychological universal’ – a trait that lies at the core of human nature.

And extra happiness is not the only payoff of kindness.

A 30- year British study, showed that women who volunteered for a charity were 16% less likely to suffer a major illness during that period, perhaps because it lowers stress levels. Academics have dubbed the phenomenon helpers’ high and givers’ glow and they say there are many possible reasons why acting selflessly may soothe the body and mind.

They say that giving to others lifts people’s social connections and gives a greater sense of purpose in life. People who make a positive difference in other’s lives tend to feel like there is that extra reason to get out of bed in the morning.

“Given that humans are social animals, this may be part of our evolved nature,” said Harvard’s Michael Norton. “In the same way that we hunger for fat or sugar – we may all nurture a deep desire to help other people.”

  • Have you been happily surprised by the friendliness and kindness you have found among your fellow travellers? Comment below.
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One Response to Random acts of kindness make grey nomads happy!

  1. He he … I’m in the process of upgrading my iMac so I’ll let you all feel really good about yourself by allowing you to donate to me for such a good cause!

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