Even when you really don't feel like it. If the foot shaking under the table doesn't give you away, then the gum snapping certainly does: You're anxious. And however you cope with your anxiety -- or don't -- recent research reveals an all-natural fix: Being nice. Turns out that good deeds, or kind acts, can make socially anxious people feel a whole lot better. For four weeks, University of British Columbia researchers assigned people with high levels of anxiety to do kind acts for other people at least six times a week. The acts of kindness included things like holding the door open for someone, doing chores for other people, donating to charity, and buying lunch for a friend, says study author Lynn Alden, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. The researchers found that doing nice things for people led to a significant increase in people's positive moods. It also led to an increase in relationship satisfaction and a decrease in social avoidance. "People who engage in kind acts become happier over time," says Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, a professor at the University of California, Riverside. Why? "When you're kind to others, you feel good as a person -- more moral, optimistic, and positive," she says. So whether you suffer from anxiety, or just need a way to boost your mood, here are 13 everyday ways to do something nice for someone -- and make yourself feel better in the process:
Your Favorite Snacks Can Reveal A Lot
The snack food you crave can tell the world all about you. Dr. Alan Hirsch of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago spent eight years studying 800 volunteers. And he discovered a revealing link between food preferences and personality traits in his test subjects. Take a look at this mouth-watering selection of goodies and choose the one that makes your tummy tingle.
You're a live wire who's bursting with energy and always ready to party with your pals. You're also a ball of fire at work, juggling a variety of tasks effortlessly. Sometimes your family and friends may have a tough time keeping up with you.
You are an aggressive and opinionated person who seldom takes no for an answer. Being so tenacious can make you a bit of a pain in the neck to pals and loved ones. But you can also be counted on to see projects through to the end.
You are a gregarious person who never met a stranger. Your outgoing personality assures you a large circle of buddies who never consider an outing without you in tow. Your people skills also help you achieve your goals on the job.
You're a straight shooter with high morals. You believe honesty in relationships is a must, and you won't waste time on people who play fast and loose with the truth. Friends experiencing a crisis of conscience turn to you for counsel.
You're obsessed with perfection in every aspect of your life. This makes you a super achiever, but you may have difficulty relating to others because they don't always meet your high standards. You'll be happier if you learn to be flexible.