Being an avid watcher of Friends, there is one episode that really stuck out to me. There is an episode where one of the main characters Phoebe challenges the idea of being able to follow through with a selfless good deed. In a nut shell, this means doing something good for someone else expecting nothing in return; not even the satisfaction of helping someone out or feeling good about what you have done. First off, I would LOVE to know peoples opinions on this because I feel as if this is completely opinionated and can’t scientifically be proved.
What I want to know is the mental and physiological effects behind doing something good for someone else and seeing how this effects you.
Picture found here.
It showed that adults who volunteered over 4 hours during the week and were over the age of 50, were significantly less at risk for developing high blood pressure within the next 4 year; 40% to be exact.
Another statement was said that the more you give, the lower your cortisol levels are. As we know, high cortisol levels can be caused by extremely active adrenal glands; meaning a surplus of stress. Now with this decreased amount of stress in your life, it is also said to increase your life expectancy. Lets recap: more giving= less stress, less stress= healthier life, healthier life= longer life.
How does giving make us feel better overall? There is something called a helpers high, which is basically the feeling that overcomes you after doing something good for someone else, and this feeling is more times than not inevitable. This happens do to the release of endorphins into your brains pleaser centers. You will be flooded with feelings of satisfaction and warmth, the feel good feeling due to the chemical release in your brain.
I conducted a small survey after me and my friends completed a secret santa. My hypothesis was that over 1/2 of the group would answer in a way that supports my findings.
The group consists of 10 girls, and the questions were as follows:
1) Do you feel a sense of generosity after giving your gift?
2) Does gift giving make you genuinely happy after seeing the reaction of your friend?
3) How willing are you to give another gift after witnessing this feeling ? 1-10
7/10 Answered yes to question number 1. This is fairly consistent to my findings.
9/10 Answered yes to question number 2. Also consistent with my findings.
The numbers ranged from 7-10 amongst the 10 responses I received.
Now I know this isn’t a great experiment but I thought it would be interesting to take a small sample size and test it out. The bottom line, is that I think genuinely people are happy to give if they are able to. Not only does this amount to gifts, but giving someone your time as well such as volunteering and what not. After finding this all out, I do NOT think there is anything that is considered a selfless good deed. Sure you mean well. But your bodily natural reactions are inevitable.
GIVE GIVE GIVE! You wont regret it!