The benefits of altruism

This week’s task for our Kindness Matters project is to bake or buy someone a treat. As we explored in a couple of weeks ago, research shows that kindness is actually good for you and there are many physiological benefits of being kind.

This week on the blog, we’re exploring the benefits of altruism.

Firstly, what is altruism? The Cambridge Dictionary defines altruism as the ‘willingness to do things that bring advantages to others, even if it results in disadvantages for yourself’.

Similarly to kindness, evidence shows that altruistic acts can have a positive effect on your own mental health and wellbeing. 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, which in turn can improve our self-esteem.

Altruistic acts, such as volunteering, can also help us feel a sense of belonging and in turn reduces isolation and loneliness. Volunteering helps us to connect with our community and make new friends.

Many people don’t realise that helping others helps to keep things in perspective. It’s amazing the impact a different perspective can have on life’s outlook.

Helping others, especially those less fortunate, can help to put things in perspective and make you feel more positive. By 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 on your own circumstances.

Our Kindness Matters project is all about creating community connection and contributing to a positive community. Altruistic acts can encourage others to ‘pay it forward’ and repeat the good deed they’ve experienced themselves, contributing to making the world a happier place.

Each week we will be sharing a suggested random act of kindness via our social channels (@cs1canberra or and encourage participants to share their deeds with us via the hashtag #kindnessmatters.

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