“Our generosity is hard-wired to the reward mechanisms in our brains. When we give our time, energy and kindness to others, it not only helps them, it’s also great for our wellbeing too,” according toAction for Happiness, a movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society.
Take Kazi Mannan, for example. He’s the owner of Sakina Halal Grill in Washington DC, located at 1108 K Street NW, who offers free meals to anyone who’s hungry. He estimates having served around 16,000 meals in 2018 to the poor and homeless. His current objective is to increase that number to 22,000 meals a year. For the homeless who don’t actually come into the restaurant asking for food, he set up a food stall in a park to reach them.
After coming to America in 1996 from a small village in Pakistan, penniless, Mannan got a job in a gas station. Despite being poor, for Mannan his new life was a dream come true. But he wanted to help others and to participate in the community. His values and love of cooking came from his mother, who taught him that if he had “a little bit extra, he should share it and care for others”.
Giving is one of Action for Happiness’s 10 keys to happier living: doing things for others. The organization’s website affirms that, “Helping others is not only good for them and a good thing to do, it also makes us happier and healthier too. Giving also connects us to others, creating stronger communities and helping to build a happier society for everyone. And it’s not all about money – we can also give our time, ideas and energy.”
Mannan opened his restaurant in 2013 and right from the start decided that homeless people could eat there for free. He had seen homeless people looking for food in trash cans. He had been raised in extreme poverty and knew it all too well. But he also recognized that, “Sharing your food with others is a joy … food is the best way to connect people.”
March 20 is International Day of Happiness. To help make yourself and others happy: