When it seems like the whole world has gone mad, we need reminders that people are generally good. That humanity trumps inhumanity. That kindness and generosity are the rule, not the exception.

Naturally, anyone can point to stories of inhumanity and cruelty to negate such a positive worldview, but even in those stories, there are almost always examples of people doing the right thing, the kind thing, the just thing. When we shift our gaze to the people doing good, we find oodles of them.

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Welcome to Day 9 of Upworthy's 31 Days of Happiness Countdown! If this is your first visit, here's the gist: Each day between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31, we're sharing stories specifically designed to bring joy, smiles, and laughter into our lives and yours. It's been a challenging year, so why not end it on a high note with a bit of laughter? Check back tomorrow (or click the links at the bottom) for another installment!

We're about a third of the way through the 31 Days of Happiness Countdown, and I honestly can't believe we've only featured one "paying it forward" story. Here's another — this time with a twist at the end sure to bring a smile to your face.

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Helpfulness is supposed to be its own reward, which, while admirable, isn’t always a compelling case for incorporating it into your life.

Especially if you're busy balancing work, family, relationships, your own health, and all of the chaos that goes with those things, volunteering can fall into the category of things we should do but rarely find time for. That’s why it can be useful to look deeper into the other benefits of being helpful — because it turns out that doing for others actually does a lot for you, too.

Image via iStock.

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