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During the Holidays, These Ducking Great Experiments Can Help A Bird (or Human) To Be Happy

Duck is sitting in a Christmas tree. Silver baubles and fairy lights surround him.
Duck, hanging out in the Christmas tree


This duck knows that the holidays aren't happy for everyone. And seeing as we're in the midst of a pondemic [pandemic for humans—Star], Christmas 2020 is a real ducking challenge. This year, we birds can't be on the pond, which makes Christmas lonelier. What's more, yours truly, the humble pond manager, can't hang his usual incredibly tasteful array of flashing, multi-colored, penguin-shaped Christmas lights around the water's edge. These really make Christmas for everyone and will be sorely missed. [Don't tell Duck, but many are greatly relieved, especially those poor souls who struggle with headaches—Star.]

It's tempting to just sit and brood in a beak-ready face mask, but no! There's a key to happiness and this duck has found it. With this in mind, here are some ducking awesome experiments that shed light on how to get flipper-flapping happy:

1. Find each other's happiness—Via LinkedIn, April Shprintz, Creator of the Generosity Culture, shares how when we operate together with generosity, happiness comes far more easily. This super-neat experiment brought a smile to my beak:

2. Squeeze your stuffie—First of all, Sreedhari Desai and Francesca Gino discovered that activities around children's stuffed animals and cartoons can make you more generous. Here's a section from the article at Harvard Business Review:

"Half the participants were either in a room with children’s toys or engaged in children’s activities," writes Desai. "Across the board, those participants lied less and were more generous than the control subjects." And when you're more generous, research suggests that you are also happier.

Plus, according to Paul Zak (watch his TED talk here) cuddling your stuffed animal can release happy oxytocins into your bloodstream.

Quackers-amazing! Who'd have thought a stuffie could benefit a duck? [Duck has no idea that he is a stuffed animal. We've tried to explain, but to no avail.—Star.]

3. Perform acts of random kindness—Ducks, in a piece at, Katherine Nelson-Coffey PhD writes up the following bird-relevant experiment:

And according to Nelson-Coffey, only those who performed random acts of kindness for others became significantly happier.

So, if this duck wants to be a happy flapper, he needs to perform random acts of kindness for other birds (such as providing beak-burying bug removal or an unexpected pot of pondweed tea, or offering a rousing song about being a duck).

Note for my frenemy Mallard Jones: The above does not mean that I must perform random acts of kindness for you so that you get happier. Re-read the ducking study, beak-brain. P.S. See you on Saturday for Skype and sushi.

So, there we have it. The key to happiness is being ducking nice to others. And what isn't festive about that?

"How can we be generous to others during social distancing?" you quack? Check out these great suggestions from Patience Salgado.

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Wishing you pond-loads of smilies.

Over and out,



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