A new research by a group of neuroscientists in Zurich, Switzerland shows a technique to help boost happiness: be generous.

The research, published in the journal Nature, reveals that when we’re generous to others, our mood improves and we can become happier.

Image: body enlightenment.me
Image: body enlightenment.me

In the latest analysis, participants were placed in two groups. The first group, known as the experimental group, was made up of people who agreed to spend money on others, while the second group, known as the control group, agreed to spend money on themselves.

At the end of the four-week study period, researchers found those in the experimental group were generally happier than those in the control group.

The researchers tested their theory by putting participants in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner that recorded their brain activity. They found out that generous decisions activated an area of the brain that linked to happiness and the reward cycle.

Image: shutterstock

“This allowed us to confirm that there is a connection between generous behaviour and happiness,” said So Young Park of the University of Luebeck in Germany, who led the research.

One of the researchers, Professor Phillipe Tobler, from the Department of Economics at the University of Zurich, said, “You don’t need to become a self-sacrificing martyr to feel happier. Just being a little more generous will suffice.”

So take a friend out for dinner, buying a present for your loved one or perhaps donate money to help the needy. Doing these examples of generosity is officially a mood lifter.

Read also: 7 Things to Remember as You Turn 30

– Cover Image: socialmoms.com