Among all the headlines on bullying, here’s a spot of bright news. NPR reports that researchers in Vancouver have been studying empathy in schools and found that performing acts of kindness can cause kids to be significantly better-liked by their peers.
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It’s a concept right out of Pay It Forward. A child does something nice—even something as small as sharing her lunch—and not only does she feel happier and more positive, even weeks later, but she’ll also be more popular and more accepting of other kids. At a time when there has been a lot of focus on kids becoming ostracized or have a hard time fitting in, it’s an uplifting message. And one that we can all learn from.
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How does it work? The study published by the team says, “research suggests that goals for happiness, prosociality, and popularity may not only be compatible but also reciprocal. Happy people are more likely to engage in prosocial behavior and have satisfying friendships. Similarly, students who are well-liked by peers (i.e., sociometrically popular) are also helpful, cooperative, and emotionally well-adjusted.”