How to be Happy: The 12-Minute Strategy
How to be Happy: The 12-Minute Strategy Mindfulness Recovering Man Metta Meditation lOVE Kindness

A team of Iowa State University researchers has argued in a new study that wishing others well for a total of 12 minutes significantly enhances mood, echoing the age-old tradition of Buddhist metta love meditation.

Douglas Gentile, Professor of Psychology at Iowa said: “Walking around and offering kindness to others in the world reduces anxiety and increases happiness and feelings of social connection.

“It’s a simple strategy that doesn’t take a lot of time that you can incorporate into your daily activities.”

The researchers tested the benefits of three different techniques intended to reduce anxiety and increase happiness or well-being as part of the study.

They did this by having college students walk around a building for 12 minutes and practice one of the following strategies:

  • Loving-kindness: Looking at the people they see and thinking to themselves, “I wish for this person to be happy.”
  • Interconnectedness: Looking at the people they see and thinking about how they are connected to each other.
  • Downward social comparison: Looking at the people they see and thinking about how they may be better off than each of the people they encountered.

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The study, published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, also included a control group in which students were instructed to look at people and focus on what they see on the outside, such as their clothing, the combination of colors, textures as well as makeup and accessories.

All students were surveyed before and after the walk to measure anxiety, happiness, stress, empathy and connectedness.

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