Happiness is generosity: help yourself by helping others

Happiness is generosity: help yourself by helping others

Check out this interesting article from the Boston Globe…

A German researcher recently identified a gene that appears to promote generosity.

American scientists are finding that being big-hearted may trigger the brain_ã_s pleasure centers.

And Jeff Bell and Jared Douglas Kant are convinced that helping others cope with obsessive-compulsive behaviors made the difference in their own treatment for the disorder.

Giving, it seems, is not just a seasonal thing. Altruism appears to be innate, and researchers, doctors, and patients say the act of giving or helping offers deep psychological benefits.

_ã–I think it_ã_s a very human phenomenon,_ã__ã_ said Dr. Helen Riess, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Evolution has wired the human brain to promote helpfulness, she said, something like _ã–survival of the nicest._ã__ã_

_ã–If we didn_ã_t help others through altruism, we wouldn_ã_t have as many people around,_ã__ã_ said Riess, also the director of empathy research and training in the department of psychology at Massachusetts General Hospital. _ã–If our village were attacked by invaders, individuals would just get into a hole and save themselves. But instead, they work together. Mutual aid sustains species._ã__ã_

The brain responds to such cooperative behavior by releasing the feel-good chemical dopamine, Riess said, and helping someone else improve _ã” or even just watching an improvement _ã” makes us, as empathetic beings, feel better.

_ã–Doing good for others _ã” I think most people don_ã_t do it because it_ã_s going to come back to do good for them,_ã__ã_ she said, _ã–but that_ã_s usually how it works._ã__ã_

…keep reading about doing good and generosity and ultimately, what will lead to more happiness HERE