012: Helping Others

Why do we help others? There are many benefits of service. When we help other people, we feel better. There have been countless studies that prove when we help someone else it increases our own level of happiness, overall wellness and even improves our physical health. This episode dives into these benefits and talks about why we should help others. This is not a guilt trip for anyone, just some tips on how to live a joyful life. Heidi discusses why we help and then offers some suggestions on how we can serve our fellow man without feeling guilty or inadequate. Heidi refers to several scientific studies. If you are interested in learning more, here are the references. Algoe, S. B., & Haidt, J. (2009). Witnessing excellence in action: the 'other-praising' emotions of elevation, gratitude, and admiration. Journal of Positive Psychology, 4(2), 105-127. Borgonovi, F. (2008). Doing well by doing good. The relationship between formal volunteering and self-reported health and happiness. Social Science & Medicine, 66(11), 2321-2334. Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The How of Happiness. NY: Penguin Fowler, J. H., & Christakis, N. A. (2010). Cooperative behavior cascades in human social networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(12), 5334-5338. Lyubomirsky, S., King, L. & Diener, E. (2005). The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success? Psychological Bulletin, 131, 803-855 Lyubomirsky, S, Sheldon, K M, & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change. Review of General Psychology, 9(2), 111 - 131 Dunn, E.W., Aknin,L.B. & Norton,M.I. (2008) Spending money on others promotes happiness. Science, 319, 1687 - 1688. Aknin, LB., Barrington-Leigh, C., Dunn, E.W.,Helliwell, J.F., Biswas-Diener, R., Kemeze,I., Nyende, P., Ashton- Janes, C.E. & Norton, M.I. (2010) Prosocial Spending and Well-Being: Cross-Cultural Evidence for a Psychological Universal. NBER Working Paper No. 16415 Luks, A. A. (1988). Helper's high. Psychology Today, 22(10), 39. Moll, J., Krueger, F., Zahn, R., Pardini, M., de Oliveira-Souza, R., & Grafman, J. (2006). Human fronto-mesolimbic networks guide decisions about charitable donation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103(42), 15623-15628. Fehr, E., & Camerer, C. F. (2007). Social neuroeconomics: the neural circuitry of social preferences. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 11(10), 419-427