Helping Others Helps You, Too: These New Studies Explain Why (2023)

A new meta-analysis in the journalPsychological Bulletinshows that helping others is also getting betteryour ownHealth and luck.

This adds to the growing scientific literature showing that helping others also helps you, in more ways than you might expect. More on that below.

But first thenew meta-analysis mentioned above(completePDF here) analyzed more than 200 previous studies with a total of almost 200,000 participants.

Thefound a modest association between “prosocial behavior” and well-being.

According to the study's lead author, Bryant P.H. Hui, prosocial behaviors like altruism, cooperation, trust andcompassionform the "necessary ingredients for a harmonious and well-functioning society".

"It's part of humanity's shared culture," he said, "and our analysis shows that it also contributes to mental and physical health."

Previous research has found that people who engage in this type of behavior are happier than those who don't.

They also have better mental and physical health.

So far, however, evidence of the link between prosocial behavior and the positive outcomes it entails for the "helper" has been lacking.

The benefit of helping others depends on the situation

No wayacts of kindnessgrant the helper the same amount.

Relevant factors include the type of kindness offered and the age and gender of the donor.

Other demographic factors also play a role.

For example, the study found that random acts of kindness, such asHelp an elderly neighborCarrying food had a greater impact on well-being than more formal ways of giving, such as

Hui suggests that this may be because the spontaneous and casual nature of informal kindness can facilitate the formation of social bonds, which have a strong impact on happiness levels.

Likewise, the inherent variability of informal giving makes it less likely to become stale or monotonous.

Age also plays a role. Younger donors reported greater overall well-being and mental health.

Older donors, on the other hand, benefited more from improved physical health.

In addition, women generally showed a stronger association between prosociality and well-being than men.

Happiness means helping others: striving for more meaning in life

Furthermore, the researchers found a stronger association between kindness and "eudaimonic" well-being (related to finding meaning in life) than between kindness and "hedonic" well-being (related to happiness and positive feelings).

In short, this study “suggests a small but significant association between prosocial behavior andwell-being",write the authors.

It also provides researchers with important information about what types of prosociality are affected and how people's age and gender play a role.

To study:"Rewards of kindness? A meta-analysis on the relationship between prosociality and well-being” (full textPdf)
Authors:Bryant PH Hui, Jacky CK Ng, Erica Berzaghi, Lauren A Cunningham-Amos, and Alexander Kogan
Published in: Psychological Bulletin
Release date:3. September 2020
Photo:vonAnnie SprattoneUnsplash

Five great ideas on how to give back

As the old saying goes, what you give comes back to you. Do you have a passion for helping others? The best way to donate your time or money is to do it in a way that will benefit others.

Below are five great ideas on how to do thisgive back to the community.

  1. help with hands,literally: don't build an exterioris a non-profit organization specifically focused on volunteering in the construction industry.
  2. Start a fundraiser:GoFundMeexplains the basics here: Define your purpose, choose your platform, tell your story, spread the word and say thank you.
  3. Organize a charity event:Get to know Eventbrite10 step plan.
  4. Donate your time as a volunteer:Walden University lists 10 great ways to do itHere.
  5. Become a coach or mentor:The open universityoffers a free courseabout how to start.

Four helpful links that explain why helping others helps you

  1. Mental Floss provides a helpful summaryscientific benefits to help others; for example they thinkincreases longevity and happiness, while at the same timechronic pain relief and blood pressure reduction. It is also a good example for children.
  2. University College London proposes in the same directionHelping others creates a sense of belonging and purpose, while alsoincrease self-esteemand someone's mindoptimism. That toocreates stronger friendships.
  3. TempoThe magazine even recently credited it as helping othersThe Secret of Happiness, with tips on how to avoid being driven by guilt to quid pro quo.
  4. Finally, Lifehack suggests some more practical benefits of helping, for exampleCreating a cycle of favorswhich will eventually compensate, as well as whichfree public aspects of volunteering; That toolooks great on your resume or resume, Close.

Dictionary corner: Synonyms for helping others

Need another word to help others? And what's a good synonym for "helping others" that isn't just a simple word you already know like "help," "cooperate," or "encourage"?

Below are some suggestions, ranging from popular expressions to some useful ones.compound verbs.

  • to help someone
  • to be useful
  • to be there for someone
  • chips in
  • come to help
  • to do someone a favor
  • do someone good
  • take action
  • Join us
  • give someoneflightbegin
  • to help someone
  • connect
  • help
  • pitch
  • play a role
  • save someone's skin

Songs about helping others

Need a song to sing at your campfire event? Or maybe you want some kind of"mantra” sing when you are at work? Below are five great songs about people helping others, dating back half a century. Looks likehelp othersNeed is a topic that never gets old.

  1. who could forgetBill Withers'trust me? Although Mr. Withers left us in 2020, yoursMusiclives forever.

2. Barney (der Lila)dinosaur) has some versions of his song overpeople who help other people. Check out the compilation below:

3. A classic made by Bruno MarsCount on meab 2010.

4. Another classic that ages well is Randy Newman'syou have a friend in me, perhaps best known from the Toy Story film series. Below is the popular version of "Claire Ryann and Dad" from 2017.

5. Last but not least: James Taylor's all-time classic celebrates its 50th anniversary this year (the song was released in 1971).You have a friend.

9 Great Quotes About Helping Others

Need more inspiration? Below is a list of nine famous onesquotesin helping others. And feel free to invent your own!

  1. "If you're among the happiest 1% of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99%." - Warren Buffett
  2. “Love is not condescending andcharityIt's not about pity, it's about love. Charity and love are the same - with charity you are giving love, so don't just give money, reach out your hand.” - Mother Teresa
  3. "No one ever became poor by giving." - Anne Frank
  4. "No one is useless in this world who lightens another's burden." -Charles Dickens
  5. "We were not born for ourselves alone (We were not born alone)“ – Cicero
  6. "The best way not to feel hopeless is to get up and do something. NOHopeso that good things happen to you. If you go out and do good, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” -Barack Obama
  7. "The purpose of life is not to be happy. It's meant to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to make a difference, having lived and lived well.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  8. "It's the only thing we can do that has lasting meaning. That's why we're here. So that each other feels safe.” – André Agassi
  9. "You haven't lived today until you've done something for someone you can never repay." -John Bunyan

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Why does helping others help you? ›

It creates a sense of belonging and reduces isolation

Helping others is thought to be one of the ways that people create, maintain, and strengthen their social connections. For example, volunteering and helping others can help us feel a sense of belonging, make new friends, and connect with our communities.

Do we need reasons for helping other people explain your answer? ›

When you help someone else, you get a positive feeling in return. For the person you've helped, they also feel good thanks to your action. This creates a strong sense of belonging and connection between you. In communities where kindness and altruism are valued, people are more likely to feel safe and happy.

What makes you great at helping others answer? ›

You Have Compassion

Compassion is a combination of empathy and kindness. It's the ability to see others' problems and feel their pain, but also have enough perspective to help them find solutions instead of just feeling sorry for themselves.

Does helping others make you happy studies? ›

Helping and being kind not only contributes to the happiness of others, it can also help us to feel happier ourselves! [1] Studies have shown that when we do kind things it can literally gives our brain a boost, activating its 'reward centres' [2] and that feels good. It can take our minds off our own worries too.

Why is it important to give to others? ›

Giving can reintroduce friends and family to the importance of generosity. Knowing someone who gives to charity can be a catalyst for giving to charity yourself. By giving to charity, you may well be helping to remind friends and family of causes they themselves are passionate about and would like to support.

Why is it important to help others in your community? ›

It will enrich your life, familiarize you with your community, and connect you to people and ideas that will positively impact your perspective for the rest of your life. Helping your community is an opportunity for you to grow as a person, to better understand how you fit into the world around you.

What is the value of helping others called? ›

Altruism is when we act to promote someone else's welfare, even at a risk or cost to ourselves.

How can I be helpful to others? ›

7 Simple Habits for Becoming a More Helpful Person
  1. Be there for people in their moments of vulnerability. ...
  2. Personalize whenever possible. ...
  3. Look out for others' blind sides. ...
  4. End conversations by asking how you can be helpful. ...
  5. Create a habit of recognizing people. ...
  6. Give selfless feedback. ...
  7. Write down meaningful things.
Nov 12, 2017

What does helping others mean? ›

: to give assistance or support to (someone) : to provide (someone) with something that is useful or necessary in achieving an end.

What is the quality of helping others? ›

Altruism is characterized by selflessness and concern for the well-being of others. Those who possess this quality typically put others first and truly care about the people around them, whether they have a personal tie to them or not.

What should one keep in mind while helping others? ›

Here are 10 thoughts that can remind you to help others.
  • Sharing knowledge. ...
  • Finding out what's valuable to them. ...
  • Sharing your resources. ...
  • Making them aware of an opportunity. ...
  • Giving them transparent feedback. ...
  • Being a brand advocate. ...
  • Giving introductions. ...
  • Volunteering your time.
May 26, 2013

What are the benefits of doing things that make you happy? ›

Happier people give more to others. It can enhance your productivity: You produce more when put in a positive mood. It can promote better health behaviors: Happier people engage in more exercise. It can lead to better immune functioning: Happier people are more resistant to colds and even experience faster-wound ...

What happens to your brain when you help others? ›

Brain science shows us that our brains release endorphins when we help others, as well, which leads to a similar phenomenon called a Helper's High: a literal state of euphoria caused by doing charitable deeds, similar to a mild version of a morphine high. But the benefits of giving back go even farther.

What do you feel after helping someone? ›

It's a joy to help others, even though not everyone realizes the positive effects doing so has on their physical and mental health. Those who are naturally inclined to offer kindness can testify to how good acts of benevolence make them feel.

Why does giving to others feel good? ›

Giving has also been linked to the release of oxytocin, a hormone (also released during sex and breast feeding) that induces feelings of warmth, euphoria, and connection to others.

What is the power of giving or helping others? ›

The benefits of giving and helping others…

Decreases both the intensity and the awareness of physical pain. Activates emotions that are vital to maintaining good health. Reduces negative attitudes, such as chronic hostility, that arouse and damage the body.

What is the moral value of helping others? ›

When you serve others, you will always be rewarded. Helping others is a humanitarian deed that spreads compassion, joy, and love throughout one's life.

What are the values of being helpful? ›

The act of being helpful means that people feel supported, they feel cared for, they are heard and they have the confidence in real time to know that they are moving in the right direction and making progress.

What makes you a helpful person? ›

If you are inclined to assist others in any situation, you are a helpful person. Your actions can also be called helpful, like your helpful habit of doing the dishes every night. If you want to be helpful, you find ways to make things easier for others, like holding the door for them.

What I learned from helping others? ›

You gain an understanding of their struggles and triumphs. This makes you more informed and aware of what's going on in the world around you, which can be very useful in your career or personal life. Being a helping hand also gives you the opportunity to see how other people live their lives and what they value most.

Is helping others the meaning of life? ›

It's not just that people who have already found their purpose in life enjoy giving back. Instead, helping others can actually create the sense of meaning we're seeking. Rather than ruminating on what makes our life worthwhile as we work toward burnout, we can find the answer outside ourselves, in human connection.

What is a simple act of helping others? ›

Buy dinner for the person sitting at the table next to you. Compliment someone. Pick up trash at the beach or park. Run an errand for someone.

How do you see yourself in helping others? ›

When you do something to help others, you can't help but feel better about yourself. You gain a sense of being valuable, helpful, and worthwhile. You start to realize that even you can do good things. When you volunteer, you often discover new skills and talents, and you learn that you are actually good at some things!

How are you helping others to grow? ›

Offer encouragement and support.

This means being there for them when they need it, listening to them, and helping them stay positive. Offer your advice and expertise. If you have knowledge or experience in a certain area, offer to share it with the person you are helping.

Why do I help everyone but myself? ›

You're too focused on the goal instead of the person.

This is especially true for highly sensitive people because our innate compassion and caring natures compel us to help and because we can often feel what others are feeling. When we sense that someone else is hurting or suffering in some way, we want to help.

What are the three most important things that make you happy? ›

Science Says These Five Things Will Make You Happier
  • Practice Daily Gratitude. Expressing gratitude has been shown to do more than improve your mood. ...
  • Surround Yourself with Positive People. ...
  • Do Regular Acts of Kindness. ...
  • Spend More Time with Family and Friends. ...
  • Spend Money on Experiences Instead of Things.

What gives people happiness? ›

Besides close relationships, there are two other things that predict happiness in people: having a job or hobby that they love and that challenges them and helping others through volunteer work, random acts of kindness or another type of prosocial behavior. All three of these things make sense.

What is the most important thing that makes you happy? ›

The most consistent finding we've learned through 85 years of study is: Positive relationships keep us happier, healthier, and help us live longer. Period.

How does kindness help your brain? ›

Being kind boosts serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters in the brain that give you feelings of satisfaction and well-being and cause the pleasure/reward centers in your brain to light up. Endorphins, which are your body's natural pain killer, also can be released.

Does helping others bring happiness or frustration? ›

The simple joy of helping others reduces stress and boosts the immune system. It also flushes negative feelings like anger and aggression.

Is helping others the secret of happiness? ›

Experiments show evidence that altruism is hardwired in the brain—and it's pleasurable. Helping others may just be the secret to living a life that is not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive, and meaningful. Our passion should be the foundation for our giving.

What are the psychological benefits of giving? ›

Giving makes you feel happy.

Your brain's pleasure circuits are stimulated by acts of charity and release "good feeling" chemicals such as endorphins, which give you a sense of euphoria, and oxytocin, which promotes tranquility and inner peace.

What is the desire to help others? ›

altruistic Add to list Share.

What are the benefits of giving and sharing? ›

10 benefits of helping others
  • Helping others feels good. ...
  • It creates a sense of belonging. ...
  • It gives you a sense of purpose. ...
  • Giving helps keep things in perspective. ...
  • It's contagious. ...
  • Helping others can help you live longer. ...
  • It will give you a sense of renewal. ...
  • You'll boost your self-esteem.
Apr 28, 2020

What does it mean to you to help others? ›

What Does It Mean to Help Others? (A Definition) Researchers often define helping others as the intention or the effect of improving the welfare of another without the expectation of material rewards in return.


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