Dr Andrew McCulloch, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation:
“It’s often said that it’s better to give than receive but did you know that this is backed up by hard research?
While many of us feel too stressed and busy to worry about helping others or say we’ll focus on doing good deeds when we have more ‘spare time’, evidence shows that helping others is beneficial for your own mental health and wellbeing. It can:
• reduce stress
• improve emotional wellbeing
• benefit physical health
• bring a sense of belonging and reduce isolation
• help us live longer
• get rid of negative feelings
As part of our work to help the nation lead mentally healthy lives, we have produced a pocket guide to show the positive impact that helping others can have on your own mental health, including some tips and suggestions to help you get started.
Good deeds don't need to take a lot of time or even cost money. Small changes can make a big difference. For example, you could:
• Offer to pick up some groceries for your elderly neighbour when you do your weekly shop
• Call a friend who you haven’t spoken to for a while
• Tell your family members how much you appreciate them
• Make a cup of tea for a colleague
• Listen to your colleague who is having a bad day
• Give up your seat to an elderly, disabled or pregnant woman on public transport
• Pick up some rubbish lying around in the street
• Smile and say hello to people you may pass every day but have never spoken to before
So just take a few minutes, have a read and do something kind for a friend or a stranger today.”
For more information about how helping others can be beneficial for your mental health, read our Doing Good? report or you can also support us by sharing an act of kindness on facebook .