Introduction – Doing good does you good

You may recognise the expression that it is better to give than receive but did you know that this is backed up by research?

There is a strong relationship between the wellbeing, happiness and longevity of those of us who are compassionate. Doing good can help reduce stress and improve your emotional wellbeing.1,2 This is true across our lives.1

We all have so much going on in our lives, lots of strains and stresses, and we are currently living in a combative political atmosphere. Being kind can get pushed to one side, in favour of what is urgent or what is trending now. But taking time to be kind to other people can make you feel good, help reduce stress and be beneficial for your own emotional wellbeing.1–3

As part of the Mental Health Foundation’s work to help people lead mentally healthy lives, we have produced this 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. So, take a few minutes, have a read and think about doing something for a friend or a stranger today.

Mark Rowland, Chief Executive, Mental Health Foundation

Find out more: 

What do we mean by 'doing good' or altruism?

The health benefits of altruism

We are the UK charity for everyone's mental health. If you would like to help support our vital work, please consider giving a donation today. 

I would like to donate towards a world with good mental health for all


  1. Curry OS, Rowland LA, Van Lissa CJ, Zlotowitz S, McAlaney J, Whitehouse H. Happy to help? A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of performing acts of kindness on the well-being of the actor. J Exp Soc Psychol. 2018;76:320–9.
  2. Post S. It’s Good To Be Good: 2014 Biennial Scientific Report on Health, Happiness, Longevity, and Helping Others. Int J Pers Cent Med. 2014;2:1–53.
  3. Jenkinson CE, Dickens AP, Jones K, Thompson-Coon J, Taylor RS, Rogers M, et al. Is volunteering a public health intervention? A systematic review and meta-analysis of the health and survival of volunteers. BMC Public Health. 2013;13(1).