As a mental health counsellor, I know firsthand the pressures and stressors that hundreds of people face in our society. From social media comparisons to academic and career expectations, it can be challenging to maintain a positive outlook and a healthy mindset.
Is it possible to not get dragged down by it all? What can we do to not just stay afloat, but thrive?
Research has shown that acts of kindness and altruism not only benefit the recipient, but they also have positive effects on the doer's psychological well-being. In this post, I will discuss five psychological benefits of doing good deeds and how they can improve your overall mental health.
Reduced stress and anxiety: Helping others can provide a sense of purpose and meaning in life, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. This is because acts of kindness have been shown to increase the production of the hormone oxytocin, which promotes feelings of happiness and reduces the production of the stress hormone cortisol.
Increased feelings of happiness and well-being: When we do good for others, we experience a "helper's high," which can improve our mood and increase our feelings of well-being. This is because helping others can lead to a sense of accomplishment and self-worth.
Improved relationships: Helping others can strengthen our relationships with those around us. When we do good for others, we are more likely to form meaningful connections and build trust with the people we help.
Boosted self-esteem and confidence: Helping others can also boost our self-esteem and confidence. When we see the positive impact we can have on others, it can give us a sense of pride and self-worth.
Reduced symptoms of depression: Finally, helping others can reduce symptoms of depression. Acts of kindness can increase the production of dopamine in the brain, which is associated with feelings of pleasure and reward.
As a counsellor, I often encourage my clients to find ways to help others as a way to improve their mental health. Whether it's volunteering, donating to a reputable and worthy cause, or simply doing a kind deed for a friend or neighbour: there are many ways to make a positive impact in the lives of others and reap the psychological benefits of doing good.