Altruism And Mental Health

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“All the pleasures of life seem to wear out, but the pleasure of helping others in distress never does” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
In general terms, Altruism refers to the unselfish concern and helping behaviour toward others. True blessing is to give than to receive. Wellness is a state of being describing the existence of positive health in an individual exemplified by the quality of life and sense of wellbeing. Negative State Relief Model states that the increased energy and positive feeling generated when a person is altruistic are vital to general mental health and wellness. Distress refers to the state of being in trouble. Distress is a pain or suffering affecting the body. It has been found that altruistic activity tends to increase happiness and subjective wellbeing. The altruistic act of being charitable is beneficiary since the simple nature of concentrating on other people counteracts the self absorbed nature of depression and anxiety. Further, competitive altruism approach also asserts that one important reason for people to help others is that doing so boosts their own status and reputation, and it ultimately brings them large benefits, ones that more than offset the cost of engaging in pro-social actions.
From research and personal experience, it has been seen that helping behaviour is associated not only with the benefit of the recipient, but also of the giver. Prosocial behaviour is a part of successful social interaction and is considered to be an important factor for promoting positive psychological growth. In every society, there are individuals who voluntarily become associated with the care of the distressed persons. Some of them devote money and material things and some devote time and some devote expertise to people in distress, whereas, others do not. Cultural variable might also be reflected in an individual’s prosocial behaviour. Every religion in the world talks of the virtue of giving. Especially, giving away one’s personal properties in an unselfish manner is encouraged as a part of moral training in almost all societies. Yet some adhere to it, and some do not. The above discussion delineate the fact that altruism leads to greater self benefits and must be inculcated as an important value system in our society.