Doing good or altruism is when we put other people’s needs before our own. This could be as simple as offering your seat on a bus to someone who might need it more than you or making a cup of tea for someone at work.
Evidence shows that helping others can have a positive effect on your own mental health and wellbeing. It can help reduce stress, improve your emotional wellbeing and even benefit your physical health.
Helping others feels good
There is some evidence to suggest that when you help others, it can promote physiological changes in the brain linked with happiness.
Helping others can also improve our support networks and encourage us to be more active. This in turn can improve our self-esteem.
It creates a sense of belonging and reduces isolation
Volunteering and helping others can also help us feel a sense of belonging, make new friends and connect with our community. Face-to-face activities such as volunteering at a food bank can help reduce loneliness and isolation.
It helps keep things in perspective
Many people don’t realise the impact that a different perspective can have on their outlook on life.
Helping others, especially those who are less fortunate than yourself, can help to put things into perspective and make you feel more positive. There is some evidence that being aware of your own acts of kindness, as well as the things you are grateful for, can increase feelings of happiness, optimism, and satisfaction. Doing good may help you to have a more positive outlook about your own circumstances.
It helps make the world a happier place – it’s contagious!
Acts of kindness have the potential to make the world a happier place. An act of kindness can improve feelings of confidence, being in control, happiness and optimism.
It may also encourage others to repeat the good deed that they’ve experienced themselves – contributing to a more positive community.
The more you do for others, the more you do for yourself
The benefits of helping others can last long after the act itself, both for you and them.
Mental Health Awareness Week is the 18th - 24th May 2020. This year's theme is #kindnessmatters.