holding hands with leaves background and sunshine

People have a natural tendency to help others, especially for those they care about. A child helps his mother do the chores, and a teacher coaches his students to perform better at school. Humans are naturally selfish because of self-preservation and acting on their own self-interests.

Yet, studies have shown that people are more inclined to help others rather than compete with them. The need to help others and show genuine concern is shown in Altruism, an act of promoting another’s welfare.

Helping other people enhances happiness and can help decrease stress. Altruism is rooted deep in human nature because of our instincts in keeping our species alive. This is evident in the brain when we help other people, causing our minds to activate pleasure signals.

They say that good things happen to good people. What are the reasons why helping others makes us happier than acting on our self-interests?

Improving Gratitude

When we help others by doing acts such as volunteering, we are making the lives of other people better and start enjoying the little things in life. By listening to other stories, we learn that our problems may not sound as bad and give us perspective.

The gratitude we feel when helping others can make us feel healthier by decreasing blood pressure and stress as well as living a more active life. On top of the help you’re providing, meeting new people can also open doors to new opportunities and interests.

A Sense of Purpose

A good friend knows how to reciprocate help when someone who has helped them before is in need. By helping others, the sense of reciprocity is felt and contributes to higher levels of happiness. Giving back to the people that have helped us gives us a sense of fulfillment and increases self-esteem.

The increase in personal fulfillment can lead to helping us find our true selves and our passion in our lives.

Gaining More than We Give

circle of volunteers

There is nothing more fulfilling than knowing that you are the reason for someone smiling or having a better quality of life. When you set aside personal interests and do something for the greater good, you set an example for others and learn how to help others.

Even when you feel like giving more than you should, you receive more in the form of knowledge and experience.

  • Starting a Life of Service. Helping out others doesn’t mean committing your life to volunteering services (although it can if you want). Doing small services can mean little for you, but the world to someone else.
  • Visiting and Assisting the Elderly. Fulfillment is helping out senior citizens through your capable hands. Dropping by for a short visit to a retirement home doesn’t only mean physical help, but also listening to others. By talking to others, you also keep them company and relieve them of loneliness. If helping the elderly makes you feel good, home care franchise opportunities may benefit you as well.
  • Giving. If you have a stuffed closet and some food to spare, giving to someone in need can already mean a lot. You not only make someone else happy but organize space by giving away things you don’t need.
  • Working Events. Organizations are always in need of helping hands when it comes to a community event. Even though professional help may be needed, you may volunteer in setting up tables, lifting equipment, or manning a stand. If you’re paid for your services, consider it a double win!
  • Sharing Your Talents and Skills. When you have time to spare, put those talents to good use by volunteering in tutoring services or playing for an event. It’s a good opportunity to showcase your skills while dedicating time for people in need.

Acting on our self-interest may help us achieve our goals, but giving time for others is something else. When we help other people, we’re not only making the world a better place, but making ourselves better in the process as well.