INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Whether it’s a big gesture, a small one, or somewhere in between, giving a helping hand can make a person happier and healthier. But acts of benevolence also have another interesting benefit: doing good deeds helps reduce stress.
In one study published in “Clinical Psychological Science,” the researchers evaluated 77 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 44. All study participants were asked to complete a questionnaire every night for 14 days. The quiz was designed to help them recount any stressful events that happened that day. Scientists have divided stressful events into seven categories: interpersonal relationships, work, education, home, finances, health, and accidents. The total number of events that occurred in each subcategory was the measure of the stress index.
At the same time, participants were also asked if they had done any good deeds on the same day – whether it was a kind gesture, like opening the door for someone or just asking someone. if he needed help. In addition to the stress questionnaire, participants completed a survey each evening measuring emotions and mental health. The questionnaire varied from 0 – meaning poor – to 100 – meaning excellent.
The results showed that helping others was linked to better moods, more positive daily emotions, reduced stress, and better overall psychological well-being.
“Our research shows that when we help others, we can also help ourselves,” said study author Dr Emily Ansell of Yale University School of Medicine in a Press release. “Stressful days generally lead to us having a bad mood and poorer mental health, but our results suggest that if we do little things for others… we won’t feel so bad on stressful days.”