Researchers Find ‘Micro-acts’ Can Boost Wellbeing

rock painted with the words "you rock"

by Allison Aubrey for NPR Morning Edition

An analysis released Tuesday from scientists behind a research initiative called the BIG JOY Project finds that people who commit daily “micro-acts” of joy experience about a 25% increase in emotional well-being over the course of a week.

“We’re really excited,” says Emiliana Simon-Thomas, a BIG JOY project leader, and science director of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. “There are statistically significant, measurable changes [including] greater well-being, better coping, less stress, more satisfaction with relationships.”

The BIG JOY Project is a collaboration between UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and other research institutions. So far the researchers have preliminary results from over 70,000 participants in more than 200 countries. “What we’re really focused on is understanding impact and the potential for change in people’s lives,” Simon-Thomas. Overall, the new analysis shows micro-acts led to increased feelings of hope, optimism, as well as moments of fun or silliness.

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