What characteristics do kind and generous people have in common?
Generous people are often described as the great losers in modern Western societies, where individualism and the pursuit of self-pleasure prevail.
This, which is based on a part of the truth, is a distortion of reality, as being generous is also rewarded by a series of physical and psychological benefits.
The advantages of being generous
And it is that, contrary to what we might think, pure selfishness also leaves certain blind spots through which problems and adversity can attack: the instability of relationships, the relative lack of support systems and a strong community that serves as protection, etc.
Here are some benefits that generous people are the first to enjoy.
1. They have better mental health
When the demands of caring for others are not very demanding in terms of time and effort, altruism is correlated with a greater propensity for good mental health. The psychological repercussions of knowing yourself useful to others in need could be behind this.
2. They can feel better with less
Unlike selfish people, who need to obtain material rewards in exchange for their effort to feel good, generous people are capable of feeling good simply by performing altruistic tasks, which they can do whenever they want because they only depend on them. After being involved in these tasks, many of them feel physically more energetic, with less pain and stress, and with a better self-image, which affects all areas of their lives.
3. Affection helps young people grow better
It has been known for a long time that those caregivers who, in addition to providing children and adolescents with “mandatory” formal care such as food, water and a place to sleep, have a much greater chance of being surrounded by offspring who can care for them. during old age. This is so because, with the creation of attachment bonds, the ability of young people to care for other people also appears.
4. Create trusted networks easily
The hormone oxytocin, which is related to generous and altruistic behaviors, is also associated with the creation of bridges of mutual trust, which can be very useful to develop ambitious and expensive projects that can only be carried out if several people agree and they collaborate over a long period of time. This means that generous people will be somewhat more likely to put their efforts into making projects with long-term goals reach their goal.
5. They can become the most visible part of the community
Generous people are capable of selfless giving for long periods of time whether or not there are rewards or rewards related to extrinsic motivation. This means that they are able to make others perceive them as generous at the same time, instead of sequentially: there are times when many people have benefited from the help of this type of profile without giving them anything concrete in return .
In this way, it often happens that the members of a community, seeing that everyone considers that there is someone especially generous, the public image of this person reaches a new level, which in many cases is related to a protective role and , therefore, of authority.
6. They are further removed from depression in old age
People over 65 who volunteer to help others are less likely to develop depression, thanks to the social integration that these tasks produce. This is very useful, considering that self-concept and self-image can diminish in old age if retirement is interpreted as a sign that you are no longer useful to anyone.
7. They can focus more on positive thoughts
Generous people are more likely to help others selflessly, which creates a climate of positivity and a certain optimism. This makes them more exposed to situations in which attention shifts towards optimistic and happy ideas, which is useful to maintain good levels of well-being.
8. Propensity for greater longevity?
Although studies on the longevity of kind people still need to be done, a tendency to focus on positive ideas and affection-based behaviors has been shown to increase longevity and is associated with a strengthening of the immune system.
- Musick, MA and Wilson, J. (2003). volunteering and depression: the role of psychological and social resources in different age groups. Social Science & Medicine, 56 (2), pp. 259-269.
- Post, SG (2005). Altruism, Happiness, and Health: It’s Good to Be Good. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 12 (2), pp. 66 – 77.
- Schwartz, C., Meisenhelder, JB, Ma, Y., & Reed, G. (2003). Altruistic social interest behaviors are associated with better mental health. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, pp. 778-785.
- Zack, PJ, Kurzban, R. and Matzner, WT Oxytocin is associated with human trustworthiness. Hormones and Behavior, 48 (5), pp. 522-527.