Doing good deeds and making a positive impact in the world can have more of a benefit than one may realize. Not only do good deeds help improve the lives of those around us, but it can also have a positive effect on our own mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. A study conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina found interesting results about the correlation between good deeds and one’s own sense of happiness. Specifically, it found that when people do good they actually feel good. Read on to learn more.
1. Empowering Happiness through Acts of Kindness
Ever wanted to know the secret to bringing real joy and contentment to everyday life? The answer lies in the power of kindness. Acts of kindness not only bring happiness to those you help, but it’s a great way to spread joy among everyone.
The joy of giving
- Helping others brings a sense of connection and purpose
- Giving can help maintain relationships
- Helping can lessen stress levels
The way we relate to and interact with each other is something to be cherished. We’re all connected and when we recognize this, our capacity to be kind to each other increases. Being compassionate or giving of our time is a great way to make connections with others.
The happiness of receiving
- It can enhance our confidence in ourselves
- It can encourage us to reach our potentials
- It can give us comfort in hard times
The beauty of acts of kindness is that it doesn’t always require something material or a pricey gift. Even the smallest act can tell someone that we’re thought of and valued. Even a simple gesture is enough to light up someone’s life.
2. What is the Psychology Behind Feeling Good by Doing Good?
It has been proven beyond any doubt that performing good deeds and acts of kindness make us feel good. The mental state we experience when thinking about, performing, or even just witnessing a good action is instinctual and even attributed to an evolutionary advancement of human species. This feeling of gratification, satisfaction, and joy is Psychology’s answer to why people derive pleasure from doing good.
1. Feeling Good Instinctually
Our bodies are programmed to reward us when being kind to others in order to ensure the species’ survival. In terms of Psychology, this is called an altruistic act – when feeling good on the inside for helping out others. The good feeling in ourselves is synonymous with happiness, and we are biologically driven to look for it.
2. Biochemical Reactions
- The physiological response to good deeds is a form of reinforcement, in the same way that teaching a dog to sit resulting in treats serves as a reward for good behaviour. Chemicals are released in the brain when helping others, such as endorphins and oxytocin, which reduce stress, increase feelings of pleasure and bring down the heart rate.
- These brain chemicals make us feel good and create a sense of positive outlook. Serotonin, for example, is a hormone that contributes to our sense of well-being and happiness. The human brain is trained to seek out these substances and the feeling of happiness that follows, creating a loop that keeps us wanting to help more.
3. The Need for Connection
The act of doing good is also driven by our need to feel connected with other people. It has been said numerous times that humans are social creatures, and that forming connections with others is essential to our emotional health. The feeling generated by helping someone is known to alleviate feelings of loneliness and melancholy, leading to an increase in self-esteem.
4. The Impact of Doing Good
It’s no surprise that we experience joy when doing good, as it is a positive affirmation of our values and beliefs. Performing kind acts, for ourselves or for the benefit of someone else, has an effect that goes far beyond giving ourselves a chemical boost. Not only are we able to help somebody else, but its a reminder of our own morality as well. Additionally, if our actions are witnessed by other people, we might find ourselves with less stress and more peace, knowing that our good work was recognized.
3. Positive Health Benefits of Volunteering
Volunteering is not only beneficial to the people and the communities you’re helping, it’s also vital for your overall health. Here are three positive health benefits of taking part in volunteering activities.
Enhanced Sense of Happiness
Volunteering brings about a sense of purpose and achievement. Whether you’re tutoring children or taking part in community clean-up projects, the sense of self-esteem and purpose you receive from doing something worthwhile is bound to leave you feeling even more fulfilled. Being in a positive environment and being able to help others can drastically raise your happiness levels.
Reduced Stress Levels
Taking part in volunteering activities can greatly reduce stress levels. Working in a quiet environment, away from the hustle and bustle of your everyday life, can help to reduce stress. Plus, the distraction from your everyday troubles can clear your mind and free your body of stress.
Being around others who share positive values can lead you to emulate them and become more involved with more regular activities. Volunteerism is often associated with physical activity, such as construction work or working in nature preserves. This can lead to exercises like walking, running and jogging that are sure to improve your health.
Confidence comes from feeling good about yourself. As you help others, you’ll develop an increased sense of self-worth which carries over into other areas of life. Volunteering helps you to better understand yourself and to become even more capable of meeting life’s challenges.
4. Small Everyday Acts of Kindness Make a Difference
It’s the little things in life that have the power to uplift us, make us feel happier and the world a little brighter. In a world full of hustle and bustle, it can be all too easy to get overwhelmed and stuck in a cycle of negative thought. But small everyday acts of kindness can have a big impact and provide an antidote to despair.
There are many simple, non-costly ways of showing kindness that don’t take too much effort but can bring so much joy. It takes a split second to give someone a warm smile, a compliment, a friendly wave or a thank you. The recipient will feel valued and appreciated, maybe even inspired to return the gesture.
When faced with a difficult situation like a looming deadline or strained interpersonal relationship, it’s easy to focus on the negative. Instead, try to shift your focus towards acts of kindness, no matter how small. Little moments like offering a helping hand, or making an effort to connect with someone who is feeling isolated, can help you feel more connected and more positive.
Ultimately, kindness matters – it can change the world, one small gesture at a time. Here are some ideas that you can easily integrate into your daily life:
- Hold the door open for someone
- Talk to someone even if you don’t feel like it
- Be a listening ear for someone who’s down
- Offer to help others in need
- Send a card or flowers to someone who needs cheering up
- Write a note of appreciation for yourself or someone else
5. How to Bring More Goodness into Your Life
Practice gratitude. Start each day by acknowledging the goodness you currently have in your life. Tell yourself 3-5 things that you are thankful for to put your focus on the abundance that surrounds you. Each night before bed, recall 3 memorable moments from the day that made you feel good, this will help set you up for a more positive attitude every morning.
Help others. Whenever you can, do something kind for the people in your life. This could be anything from helping a neighbor with their garden, to buying coffee for someone behind you in line. Your presence and care will help bring a bit of goodness into their lives, and in turn, your own.
Clear your surroundings. Create a calming home for yourself by clearing out physical and emotional clutter. Organize your space and take note of the rid of things you don’t need, which can help lift any negative energy lingering in the air.
Bring nature indoors. Spend time in your local park or garden and admire the beauty of nature that surrounds you. Bringing a bit of the outdoors inside your home can also help inspire a more positive atmosphere. Consider getting a few indoor plants and flowers, light some natural scented candles, and diffuse some essential oils.
- Practice gratitude.
- Help others.
- Clear your surroundings.
- Bring nature indoors.
6. Cultivating Altruism in Children
There’s no greater gift for a parent than the thought that their child is an empathetic, thoughtful individual — but how can parents cultivate altruism in their child from a young age? Instilling a sense of communal responsibility within a child can be a simple but rewarding task.
1. Encourage Kindness and Compassion at Home: Teaching children to help their siblings or family members is a great way to establish a culture of kindness in a home. By allowing older children to pass down their knowledge to the younger ones, parents can help build a sense of mutual respect.
2. Volunteering Opportunities: Giving children the chance to volunteer in their local community provides a personal opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. This could mean serving food in a soup kitchen, picking up trash at a park, or even helping to raise money for a good cause. It’s an invaluable way for children to develop empathy and compassion.
3. Embrace Diversity: Introducing children to different cultures and customs is a great way to help them become more aware and inclusive individuals. Exposing them to a variety of different styles, languages and religions can help children comprehend how their behaviors and beliefs impact the world around them.
4. Model Kind Behaviors: As a parent, it’s important to lead by example so that children understand the importance of helping others. Encourage small acts of kindness throughout your everyday life, such as holding the door open for people or going out of your way to thank someone for their help. Showing your children these small gestures can help foster altruism in a young age.
7. Implement Sustainable Practices to Inspire Others
Sustainable practices are essential for creating a healthier, more equitable, and more sustainable future. Implementing sustainable practices can be intimidating, but with the right steps, anyone can take action and inspire others to do the same.
Here are 7 sustainable practices that you can put into action:
- Consume Less: Whenever possible, reduce consumption to minimize the number of resources used. Purchase fewer items of higher quality, and focus on reducing single-use plastics whenever possible.
- Repurpose Items: Instead of buying something new, try repurposing items that have already been used. You can find creative ways to reuse bottles, jars, boxes, and other common items.
- Practice Effective Waste Management: Recycling can be an effective way to reduce waste and save valuable resources. Whenever possible, look into ways to purchase products that are made from recycled materials
- Travel Responsibly: For long trips, choose transportation with the least environmental footprint, such as buses and trains. For shorter trips, consider carpooling or biking instead of driving.
Making small changes in our daily lives can have a big impact. Model sustainable practices by investing in renewable energy sources, like solar panels, and encourage your co-workers and friends to do the same.
Organizing events such as beach cleanups, marathon fundraisers, or solar installations is a great way to educate people about sustainable practices and inspire others to take action. This can lead to a more sustainable future for everyone.
Doing good has a power of its own, and when we choose to use it, the feeling of good is sure to follow. Fill your days with good deeds and find out for yourself how it makes a difference. Live with intention and act with purpose – when you do good, you feel good.