5 acts of kindness (or the intelligence of altruism)

Goodness includes concepts such as generosity, care, care, compassion or unselfish love. Many researchers are interested in knowing why we are friendly with the other. Some believe in altruism and others are not. By Koncha pines-Pey for space MIMIND.


In those societies capitalist, the tradition makes believe that each "Act" is in last instance to benefit is to one same. But that same society has created a contemplative traditions who believe that people are, in fact, capable of acting with the ultimate goal of benefiting others.

Batson, American psychologist, offers us an interesting reflection on universal selfishness vs. altruism: "It is easier to explain all human behavior in terms of autobeneficio that run a motivational pluralism in which both the benefit and the benefit of others can serve as goals".

Acting with kindness offers the following "selfish" benefits:

  1. Reduces the tension created by the experience that provokes the empathy situational and the inaction. It can be physically and psychologically uncomfortable see someone in need of support, for example a person homeless shivering during the winter, or a friend who has lost her mother, or child being assaulted. Help relieve this tension.
  2. A Act of kindness social us allows flee of the feeling of "guilt" by not help.
  3. Goodness gives social and personal rewards. Us win the approval of those others and us feel well with us same by make "it correct". It is about the "reciprocity of altruism" theory, which suggests that acts of kindness are most often aimed at people who can pay us in the future. Why anonymous acts of kindness are really rare. Most of the people who make something, want to "social reward". We are not denying that those who offer time or resources to others do not have good intentions... but if we ask them we will see that the social factor much tipped the scales.

The other side of altruism

Since 1980, there have been more or less 30 experiments about the benefits of "unselfish selfishness". Sonia Lyubomirsky, Professor of psychology of Stamford and one of the most brilliant minds in positive psychology, did an experiment asking people that it interferes in five acts of random kindness, to see if they had a reliable increase in positive emotions.

The good news is that they did, but also was proven more effective continuum of positive emotions if they took place the same day. Sonja explains: "we have made very simple exercises: pay parking to a stranger, give blood, help a friend this unbeknownst, write a thank you letter to." The issue was to make five acts of kindness in five days".

When I read for the first time about Sonja began to prove his thesis, and I realized that many days for me was hard to focus and be attentive enough as to remember that I had to do my Act of kindness, one each day. Because there were days when I felt more kindly and had five acts. But little by little you'll becoming more disciplined, and can understand as your level of happiness increases. So you're looking for opportunities to be kind.

If you want to contribute to the altruism in the world, you can take into account the following suggestions and try five acts of kindness in five days:

  • Have a listen carefully with a friend.
  • Help someone sick.
  • Give your time to someone without expecting anything.
  • Walk down the street and see where goodness is needed and offered.

Sonia proved that the pursuit of happiness sustained through acts of random kindness can raise our levels of positive emotions. The data have been published by the Department of psychology of the University of California, Riverside.


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By • 30 Sep, 2013 • section: General