In a society where individualism is prized, it seems that altruism has been relegated to religious institutions or to NGOs.
It is evident about the benefits that the person who is being helped receives, which is supplemented by a need that is required, but are there other benefits in altruism?
Although the idea of helping may seem “instinctive”, it requires several elements, including, detecting that the other person needs help, wanting to help and doing so.
If we are not able to put ourselves in “the shoes” of the other, to know what it may be needing, if we do not have the will to be supportive or if in the end, we do not overcome “laziness”, if we fail in any of these previous stages , the work of helping others will not be done.
Helping others without expecting to receive anything in return brings much more benefits than we believe. Now, the UK’s Mental Health Foundation says that being willing with other people is beneficial to our mental health and to our overall well-being.
In the first place, being altruistic improves our confidence, our happiness and our optimism. This happens because generous acts can generate a chain of similar actions and contribute to a more positive society. In addition, it promotes physiological changes in the brain that lead us to be happier: that is, by helping others we are also activating our body on a physical level, so it helps us to forget our problems and to have a higher self-esteem, thanks To these activities that involve a relationship with others. The latter also entails a better social integration and an excellent help against loneliness and isolation.
To have knowledge of some people who are in situations much worse than ours makes us take perspective of life and see it with more optimism, which again leads to our happiness.
The physical benefits of altruistic behavior go through the reduction of negative feelings and feelings like anger or aggression, as well as the reduction of stress and therefore also strengthen our immune system getting us to live longer.