Home / Blog / Why Giving To Others Is Actually Giving To Yourself: 5 Reasons For Kindness

Why Giving To Others Is Actually Giving To Yourself: 5 Reasons For Kindness

In our history, books, movies and TV, the good guys are celebrated. For the most part we are raised to be nice people, to help others. In most instances, being nice and acts of Altruism (the selfless concern for the well-being of others, often involving acts of kindness or assistance without expecting anything in return) are the mark of a good person.
But why? 
  1. It's in our nature

Animals can be instinctively selfish, evident when birds squabble over food, with the most courageous or brutish often flying off with the biggest scrap.

However, many more collaborative relationships exist in nature.

For example Oxpeckers, who perch on large mammals eat ticks, dead skin, and other parasites. The birds get food, while the mammals get pest control.

This sort of reciprocal altruism is common in the animal kingdom and is based mainly on the expectation of a personal return. 

For example, Vampire Bats share their food with those who had an unsuccessful hunt with the expectation that the favour will be returned, those who renege on the deal are blacklisted by the colony.

We are not so different, giving with expected return is the backbone of our capitalist society. Loans with interest ensures that resources can move fluidly through an economy so they can go where they will work the hardest allowing the whole economy to grow and prosper.

Humans are hardwired in many ways to engage in altruistic behaviour through theories like inclusive fitness, which suggest that helping others, even at a personal cost, ensures the survival and reproduction of shared genes. 

We do good because it also helps us.

The greatest wealth is to live content with little, but giving to others brings the greatest riches of all. — Plato

  1. Building Social Bonds

Historically, giving to others has strengthened social bonds, making groups more cohesive and more likely to survive and thrive. Historically, groups formed in part to protect against overly aggressive and destructive individuals, ensuring that kindness prevailed over time and for the most part the bad guys nastiness left the gene pool.

Humans have historically given to others because of social bonding. Giving to others strengthens ties between individuals and groups, making the collective stronger and more likely to survive. Research has found that altruistic behaviours are present in all human societies, indicating that kindness is a universal human trait.

By promoting cooperation and mutual aid, giving helps build a sense of community and belonging, which is essential for a stable and thriving community and society.

  1. Physical Health Benefits

Acts of kindness and altruism have been shown to improve physical health. Helping others reduces blood pressure and cortisol, a stress hormone, which directly impacts stress levels.

These changes can lead to better blood pressure and heart health.

Research in volunteering, a good proxy for kindness, is associated with a longer lifespan; older adults who volunteer have a 44% lower mortality rate over a five-year period than those who do not. 

In the worlds longest happiness study done by Harvard, they found that relationships were one of the biggest predictors of a long and happy life. Kindness and giving to others is a great way to maintain strong bond with others.

Engaging in altruistic behaviours can thus contribute to a healthier, longer life.

  1. Mental Health Benefits

Spending money on others promotes happiness more effectively than spending it on oneself.

Research replicated across various studies and countries (rich and poor) shows that people experience more joy from giving to others than from spending on themselves.

Volunteering and acts of kindness lead to higher life satisfaction, a greater sense of purpose, and lower rates of depression and anxiety. 

Altruism activates reward areas in the brain, creating a positive feedback loop that enhances overall happiness.


  1. Creating Positive Ripple Effects

You never know the ripple effect your small gesture can have.

Kindness can inspire others to act similarly, creating a chain reaction of positive behaviour. While the immediate impact of a kind act may not always be visible, its long-term effects can have a butterfly effect opening new opportunities that can be unpredictably far-reaching. 

Kindness makes us better people and contributes and makes everyone have a nicer time. Smile and the whole world smiles with you.

In a world increasingly detached and digitised, it's easier than ever to get caught up in your own goals and personal development to the detriment of helping others. 

Reflection can be a powerful tool to help you find a balance of self development that doesn’t become selfish.

Modern life has many of us so detached from the outcomes of our words, it is easier than ever for people to be dicks without consequences.

Some people fall into this trap perhaps because the digital world flips our natural tendencies and online unkindness has a sort of attention-grabbing virality about it that encourages the opposite of love and kindness.

However, by actively choosing kindness and giving, we can counteract these tendencies and create a better world for everybody.

As Ryan Holiday says, "We do it because it's right, because people deserve kindness, and because kindness makes us better."

Previous post
Next post

Empty content. Please select category to preview