What does 'doing good' or altruism mean?

Doing good or altruism is when we put other people’s needs before our own. This could be by offering your seat on a bus to someone who might need it more than you or making a cup of tea for someone at work.

Evidence shows that helping others can have a positive effect on your own mental health and wellbeing. For example, it can reduce stress as well as improve mood, self-esteem and happiness.1–3

There are many ways that you can help others as part of your everyday life. Carrying out good deeds doesn’t need to take a lot of time or cost money. Small changes can make a big difference. This guide gives you some ideas and ways to start by looking in more detail at:

Find out more: 

The health benefits of altruism


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References

  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).