Altruism is an “unselfish concern for the welfare of others”. It is an ethical theory that was coined in the 19th century by Auguste Comte and it is antithesis to egoism. Altruists believe that everyone has an obligation to help other people and they do unselfish acts of kindness to create happiness and relieve pain.
Volunteering is a form of altruism. It has been proven that volunteering is a good way of helping yourself. If you are feeling unworthy or think your life has no value, it can be very therapeutic to help someone else. By putting the needs of others ahead of your own and focusing on their problems instead of your own, it can help you find a sense of purpose and direction. Helping someone else to heal is a survival tactic that can provide healing from your own challenging and possibly tragic life events. You can forget that your world is falling apart around you when you are busy helping build up others in need.
Scientific studies show that volunteering and doing acts of kindness can result in significant health benefits, both physical and mental, for those who perform them. Here are some of the possible benefits:
- stress relief
- stronger immune system
- decrease in physical pain
- decrease of negative emotions
- increase in positive emotions
- calmness, improved emotional well-being
- release of body’s natural painkillers
- increase in self-esteem
When you see a smile on someone’s face, especially a child, and you realize that it is because of your act of kindness, it will bring warm feelings of contentment to your heart and this small, caring action is making the world a better place.
Don’t spend your time feeling sorry for yourself or being depressed and lonely.
Don’t spend your time wondering why people can’t be nicer to each other.
Don’t spend your time wishing the world was a better place.
Step outside of the self-imposed box that you have put yourself into and take action. Find a local organization that interests you and volunteer some time. Doing good for others will help you overpower any feelings of depression or loneliness, as I well know. Once you become involved in an organization, you will soon begin to understand why so many people are interested in volunteering their time, talents and money to help others.
Let’s all try to make this world a better place by doing acts of kindness. What have you got to lose? Probably loneliness or depression. What have you got to gain? Better physical, mental and emotional health.