How to be happy this January

Published Jan 08, 2018 | Written by Jeremy Knight

If you’re like me and you live for the Summer, January is a tough ol’ time.

The buzz of Christmas is long gone. We’ve all spent too much, ate too much, drank too much. It’s cold outside and it’s dark ALL.OF.THE.TIME.

And with ‘blue Monday’ dawning on us, it seems only natural to want to hide away under your biggest blanket and hope no one finds you until February. 

But in the real world, it just ain’t gonna happen.

So stumbling across this article I thought, what a great way to kick January up the backside and inject some HAPPINESS back into our lives!

Dishing out small acts of kindness has been proven to promote higher levels of life satisfaction, job satisfaction and as a result, fewer depressive symptoms. And interestingly, these happiness results came from the givers of kind acts rather than the receivers. Which shouldn’t be so surprising since we actually feel more pleasure spending money on others than ourselves. 

So perhaps the answer to beating the January blues isn’t hibernating with the leftover Christmas chocolate and wishing the days away, but sending out some kind words, actions, and generosity. 

This doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. Everyone appreciates a thank you note, a compliment, or a slice of cake.

And since it's human nature to want to reciprocate - or at least ‘pay it forward’, your one act of kindness could be the start of a virtuous cycle that keeps on giving.

Will you receive anything back - who knows? But you’ll certainly be left with that warm fuzzy feeling that makes you want to smile for no reason. Remember that?  

So on that note, I’m off to do a bakery run. Happy January, all!


In the lab, psychologists have shown how generosity propagates and spreads. If someone is kind to us, we tend to “pay it forward” and act more generously to someone else when given the chance. But it’s not clear if these findings are realistic. For example, when we’re juggling priorities on a busy work day, might receiving an act of kindness actually be a nuisance, leaving us feeling indebted to return the favour when we’ve got more important things to do? An uplifting new study in the journal Emotion looks at acts of altruism within a real-life working environment, and shows how kindness really does ripple outwards from a good deed.

The researchers from the University of California headed by Joseph Chancellor studied workers from Coca Cola’s Madrid site, a group of mostly female employees from a range of departments. Participants were told they were part of a happiness study, and once a week for four weeks they checked in to report how they were feeling, in terms of mood and life satisfaction, and their experience of positive and negative behaviours, including how many they had carried out towards others, and how many others had made towards them. Four weeks later, the participants completed further measures, such as of their happiness and job satisfaction.


Published by Jeremy Knight January 8, 2018
Jeremy Knight