Spontaneous good deeds are more beneficial for health than planned

Good deeds and helping others have a positive impact on both mental and physical health, but a good deed done spontaneously is more useful than one planned. This is reported in an article published by the American Psychological Association in the Psychological Bulletin. The scientists made this conclusion by conducting a meta-analysis of more than two hundred independent studies involving more than 198 thousand people. 

Specialists found that actions not planned in advance (such as spontaneous donation to a charity or helping a neighbor with food delivery) have a better impact on physical and mental health than, for example, regular participation in volunteer activities or monthly cash contributions to charity. 

Research data analyzed by scientists has confirmed that good deeds improve the mental well-being of the people who do them. At the same time, experts found that it is not a matter of hedonistic well-being - the degree of satisfaction with their own lives, but of so-called eudemonic well-being associated with the feeling of realizing their potential, the meaning of life. 

It also turned out that the effect that good deeds have on physical and mental health depends on the age of the person who commits them. Thus, representatives of the younger generation, helping others, reported a higher level of general, eudemonic and psychological well-being, while older people said that they began to feel better physically.

In addition, it turned out that the positive effect of good deeds was more pronounced among women than among the stronger sex. According to experts, this may be due to the existence of a social stereotype that women are more inclined to generosity and charity. The effect of "justified expectations" may increase the feeling of satisfaction after doing good deeds.


Photo: vesco-realty.ru

Sept. 4, 2020, 10:26 a.m.

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