philosophy: mindfully doing good deeds are good for you.

by: Tina Anthony

it’s like the Boy Scouts' slogan says, “do a good turn daily.” the way they put it into practice means you should always be looking for extra opportunities to help others, quietly and without boasting. because after all, a good turn is an act of kindness, not just something you do because it is good manners. good turns should be done for family, friends, adults, children, and especially for those that are not able to do the task themselves.

this practice of altruism suggests that there’s something deeper at play. and that “something” is compassion.

according to a recent citing in the journal Mindfulness, the authors found that compassion leads people to try to alleviate distress in others. combine this with mindfulness—a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations—and more meaningful acts of altruism become possible.

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besides the obvious benefit of giving help to someone in need, the authors also revealed that this mindful approach to giving and sharing could promote emotional rewards for the giver as well.

according to Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, berkeley, some studies suggest giving to others makes people feel happier than spending money on themselves; this has even been found among kids. these good feelings are reflected in our biology: giving to charity activates brain regions associated with pleasure, social connection and trust. scientists also believe that altruism may trigger the release of endorphins in the brain, giving us a “helper’s high.”

researchers also report a link between altruism and overall health benefits like a decrease in conditions like depression in the elderly and fewer aches and pains.

it was also revealed that altruism is, in fact, a choice like any other. people generally employ the same process of “pros” and “cons” when making generous choices. therefore, any act of altruism is as simple as choosing to be generous with your time and/or financial resources. the real up-side is that this choice (or mindful decision) of “doing a good turn” can contribute to creating an invaluable sense of community, that gives both the giver and receiver a purpose greater than one’s self.

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