Altruism is defined as selflessly caring about other people and acting in someone else’s interest. Some examples of altruism include volunteering at a homeless shelter, offering your seat to a pregnant or elderly person, etc. We often feel fulfilled and energized by helping without expectations.
Research shows that helping others is actually beneficial for your wellbeing. The following are some benefits associated with altruism.
· Promotes positive physiological changes in the brain associated with happiness. By helping others, you release endorphins from your brain. This activates parts of the brain associated with trust, pleasure and social connection. Donating and spending money on others, leads to higher levels of happiness compared to just spending money on yourself.
· Reduces isolation and increases a sense of belonging. By volunteering and being part of a social network leads to feelings of belonging and can reduce stress levels.
· Volunteering can give you a good perspective on how fortunate you are. This will help give you a better perspective and help you to stop stressing about the small things in life.
· Helping people can help boost your overall health. Research has shown that emotions related to compassion and helping people help protect you from the immunosuppressing effects of stress. Research has also revealed that stimulating the brain to release endorphins is a natural painkiller.
· Decreases negative feelings. People who give more and volunteer more tend to see life as more meaningful. These people tend to have less depression, increased physical health, better marital relationships, and increased self-esteem.
· Can help you live longer. Evidence has shown that people who give to others more tend to live longer than those who don’t. This can also include support to love ones in your life such as spouse, friends and relatives.
April in National Volunteer Month! Get out there and give more and volunteer more!!
http://stress.about.com/od/lowstresslifestyle/a/altruism.htm [accessed August 2015].