Why doing good makes us feel good…
Some people call it ‘warm-glow giving’; others – like us – call it ‘helper’s high’
But whatever name you attach to the sensation, there is a growing body of evidence that indicates that doing good on behalf of others can actually make you feel better. And that’s just the start…
So, what exactly do we get when we give?
- Acts of kindness cause the brain to release a flood of mood-enhancing chemicals (oxytocin) during the act of kindness. which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving our overall heart-health. Not only that, but there is also evidence that altruistic behaviour may boost your tolerance of minor and chronic pains. Plus, a Harvard study showed that adults over 50 who volunteered at least 100 hours per year— that’s less than two hours each week— had a reduced risk of mortality, greater physical activity, and fewer depressive symptoms compared with their peers.
- Doing good deeds stimulates the production of serotonin. This feel-good chemical heals wounds, calms you down, and makes you happy! Over time, that may result in health gains, too. Researchers in the UK found that people who volunteered at least once a month reported better mental health than those who gave less.
- Each person’s good deed is believed to cause 3 more, creating a wave of altruism – this is called upstream reciprocity. Maybe it’s because we are hardwired to recognise that community building is one of the cornerstones of modern civilisation. Donating time, experience, or skills can build bonds with more people, and—especially as you see the change in others’ lives—fill your own life with a broader purpose. As Emma Seppälä, Ph.D., a director at Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education says, “It is a happiness that lasts, partly because it creates meaning in your life.”
The benefits of doing good may now be packaged up in science and a neat, usable term, but the reality of it is pretty simple and has been around for hundreds of years as this Chinese proverb shows:
“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”
So take action…
If you are a business and starting to look at your ESG goals, or you are passionate about having a bigger, more positive impact on the world around you, then simply sign up or get in touch with our MD, Rob.
Helping you make good grow is simply what we do.