This article presents the study demonstrating how altruistic love and doing small acts of kindness can bring good not only to others but can also improve your health and happiness. Let us look at the recent research findings showing the power of love and benevolence.
The New Study of Kindness
Meena Andiappan, professor at the University of Toronto in Canada, recently explored the ways people can increase their sense of well-being while decreasing their feelings of anxiety and depression in their social relationships. Let us take a look at how she explains these results for the scientific blog “The Conversation.”
Researchers investigated very simple acts of kindness. They compared those people who chose to treat themselves by spending money, time, or other resources on their own happiness to those who chose to treat others. On a daily basis, people in both cases performed simple, low- to no-cost acts.
The study has shown that the regular doing of “good things” leads to positive consequences for those who do them.
The Positive Power of Doing Good to Others
Researchers found surprising results in their study. The lives of participants in the first group who did not do anything beyond their normal activities did not change much. However, the mental health of those who provided acts of kindness to others improved markedly. Participants in the second group also had lower levels of anxiety and depression. These results supported the earlier findings of this kind.
How can psychology explain these findings? Researchers explain that devoting our time and energy to others makes our own problems appear less pressing.
The Positive Power of Social Connections
Here’s another way to look at these results: It is likely that strengthening social connections can also be beneficial. Treating others frequently entails spending time with them and developing and reinforcing relationships. Strong social relationships, according to social scientists, are one of the keys to well-being and happiness. In addition, when we are with other people, we tend to smile much more often. Therefore, we experience positive emotions more frequently.
The Positive Power of Meaningful Life
Furthermore, this research indicates that living a meaningful life is a significant predictor of happiness. Spending your limited resources and energies on others is likely to enhance this sense of meaning, making life more meaningful and worthwhile. Spending on yourself, whether time, money, or effort, does not appear to have the same benefits.
The Positive Power of Daily Kindness
Here is another important thing to note regarding the results of this study. Researchers have found that any occasional or regular acts of kindness are beneficial for your well-being and health. However, three factors can make certain actions especially beneficial to happiness.
- First, doing something beyond common routine can make you happier than doing something normal and routine. So, extraordinary kindness is especially important.
- Second, performing various acts of kindness is important. So, the variety of kindness and love is also important.
- Third, receiving positive feedback about the kind act you performed boosts happiness. It is good to know we helped someone. Receiving gratitude and appreciation for our actions from others boosts our positive emotions.
Thus, the old adage “in helping others, you really can help yourself” is true. Still, we should remember that performing acts of kindness is not a universal cure for all emotional problems.
What Do Altruistic People Get in Return?
We must admit, however, that acts of altruism and kindness are not entirely selfless. Altruistic people gain psychological rewards for their altruistic actions through the hedonistic motivation of internal and intrinsic emotions.
For example, American psychologists Robert Cialdini and Douglas Kenrick (1976) conducted a study that demonstrated the truth of the hedonistic motivation of altruism. Doing good for others is emotionally rewarding and self-gratifying for some people. Their experiences of socialization likely influence their altruistic psychological characteristics, emotions, motivation, and behavior.
The studies have shown that altruism and altruistic love are nearly cross-culturally universal.