Spend a year doing something kind every day and something magical happens - you become happier, kinder, more grateful, and your life is imbued with meaning.
A Year of Kindness is more than a journal. It provides empirical evidence that focusing on kindness and gratitude leads to being happier and more fulfilled, and is an easy tool to create that focus. Write in the journal about gratitude and the things you do for others each day, and see for yourself how this simple exercise transforms any 365 days into A Year of Kindness.
Drawing on years of social and psychological research about kindness and giving, Psychologist Pamela Paresky created this simple yet extraordinary guide for anyone who would like to be kinder, happier, and lead a more meaningful life.
Wisdom traditions have taught kindness for thousands of years. We all know that kindness and giving are good for the recipient, but what is less obvious is how good they are for the giver. The happiest people are those who give. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama teaches, "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?" - Rabbi Hillel
Being grateful is an essential element in leading a happy and meaningful life, but gratitude is more than being thankful for what we have. Gratitude is also about being thankful for what we can do for others. Leading a meaningful life begins with developing a focus on something greater than yourself, and making a commitment to kindness is a good first step. Research indicates that when people record their acts of kindness, they become kinder, happier, and more grateful. By keeping a journal of both kindness and gratitude, anyone can lead a happier, more meaningful life.
"In a world that moves faster and faster, each day bringing new challenges, it's easy to lose sight of the civility that civilization requires. What a marvelous gift to have a program like this to help us stay focused on the simple and indispensable need of all human societies: kindness. Thank you, Dr. Pamela Paresky for reminding us of what matters."
Mickey Edwards, The Aspen Institute
"Dr. Pamela Paresky is uniquely qualified to be a guide for the important work of discovering our paths to self fulfillment. Journaling about kindness & gratitude shines a light on values that govern us and actions that enlighten us."
Fred Pryor, leadership expert and founder of Fred Pryor Seminars
"Since the late 18th century, non sibi (not for self) has been the motto of Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Now Dr. Pamela Paresky, a graduate of the school, has found an elegant way to make that abstraction a guide for daily life through this journal, A Year of Kindness."
Barbara Landis Chase, Former Head of School, Phillips Academy
"Dr. Paresky has astutely determined that if we take a year to focus on something outside ourselves and resolve to do something kind each day, we will never go back. Her journal is ideal for both adults and young people in setting us all on a path of conscious concern for others, and creating a lifelong habit of doing good."
Elayne Bennett, Adolescent Development expert and Founder/President of Best Friends Foundation
"Wherever there is a human being there is an opportunity for a kindness" - Seneca
"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." - H.H. Dalai Lama
Dr. Pamela Paresky is the Director of the Aspen Center for Human Development, a personal and professional consultant, and a former Adjunct/Research Professor at the United States Air Force Academy. She received her PhD in Human Development and Psychology from the University of Chicago where her work at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) focused on happiness, relationships, and “Flow,” a construct describing optimal experience that was developed by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, a pioneer in the study of both happiness and performance. Building on his discovery that the best moments in life often occur when people stretch themselves while working toward something worthwhile, Pamela has spent the past twenty years investigating the source of both optimal performance and a life worth living. She teaches courses in leadership and various other topics in human development, and writes a blog for Psychology Today entitled “Happiness and the Pursuit of Leadership.
Listen to Dr. Paresky talk about the psychology of a fractured country on the Geoff Currier Show
Listen to Dr. Paresky talk about givers and takers on the Matt Townsend Show
With President Paul Kagame of Rwanda
"Happiness in some sense has an outward orientation in enhancing the welfare of others." - Dachar Keltner
“There are moments when action and awareness merge and we lose the sense of duality that separates us from life. In these moments, not only are ‘self’ and ‘other’ not separate, there is no ‘self.’” - Pamela Paresky