The power of empathy – helping others can make you happy
All of us are born with empathy. This is evident from studies on babies who have been shown to cry when they hear a sound made by other babies crying, but they almost never cry when they hear a recording of their own cries.
A study reported in the Journal of Science shows how performing acts of kindness can make us feel happier. Participants were divided in two groups, and each group was given a chunk of money. The first is requested to spend it on themselves, while the other to spend it as gifts to other people. The result from this study was that those who spent the money on others reported an increase in their happiness levels.
Another study for which 3,000 people participated found that 95% of volunteers reported that after helping others, they experiences what psychologists have termed a “helper’s high”–that is, an increased sense of well-being both on an physical and emotional level, as well as enhanced energy and serenity.
What these studies clearly point out to is that happiness is derived from giving and helping, not from hoarding and competing. In fact, research has found that that on average over 80% of happiness is derived from friendly and loving relationships, spirituality, health, and work fulfillment, while only 7% is related to the possession of money.
As you can undersand, the power of empathy is tremendous. Helping others can make you happy and improve your overall well-being. So from now on, whenever possible, perform acts of kindness and offer your help open-handedly to your fellow human beings when you see they are in need of it.