Giving Compass’ Take:
• There are many health benefits to living an altruistic lifestyle and dedicating time to volunteering.
• The author says that sometimes volunteers or “helpers” can gain more from their altruism than recipients. How are these individuals (ones that gain more than they give) impacting progress?
• Read about the benefits and motivations of volunteers.
Altruism is most commonly thought of as a selfless act that benefits the recipient. However, the science behind good deeds suggests that altruism isn’t entirely selfless. In fact, some research suggests that helpers may gain more from their altruistic acts than recipients.
Here are just a few of the ways that altruism can improve your attitude and make you healthier, happier, and less stressed:
- Releases endorphins
- Feeling of satisfaction
- Helps you feel more grateful for what you have
- Distracts you from your own problems
- Improves physical health
However, there is a caveat to all of this. Not everyone benefits from altruism. For example, for those who are already feeling overwhelmed by having too many things on their plate, adding more—even if the intentions are positive—is not likely to end well.
Also, for those who tend to help the disadvantaged, it sometimes is that case that the sadness of the situations they get involved in has more of a negative than a positive impact on the helper.
Burnout among volunteers and those who work in helping professions is common. However, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, the risk can be lessened by being aware of the symptoms associated with burnout and compassion fatigue and by taking steps to take care of your own mental and physical health before trying to take care of others.
Read the full article about altruism by Sherrie Bourg Carter at Psychology Today.
Since you are interested in Volunteering, have you read these selections from Giving Compass related to impact giving and Volunteering?
Are you ready to give?
If you are ready to take action and invest in causes for Mental Health, check out these Giving Funds, Charitable Organizations and Projects related to Mental Health.