Those suffering from symptoms of depression or anxiety can do a lot to help themselves and how they feel simply by performing acts of kindness for others, according to psychologists at the Ohio State University.
What to Know
Performing acts of kindness improves mental health and outlook in a manner not seen in other therapeutic techniques for treating depression or anxiety.
Study participants were divided into three groups. One group performed acts of kindness on a regular basis, one used cognitive-behavioral therapy to plan social activities, and one group practiced cognitive reappraisal.
Participants in all three groups showed an increase in life satisfaction and a reduction of depression and anxiety symptoms, but the acts of kindness group reported that they felt more connected to other people after the intervention.
Social connection is vital to well-being and is often impaired among individuals with anxiety or depressive disorders.
Choosing to help someone creates a more purposeful social connection than what occurs by simply being around other people. It also helps people take their minds off their own depression and anxiety symptoms and feel better about themselves.
This is a summary of the article, “Healing Through Helping: An Experimental Investigation of Kindness, Social Activities, and Reappraisal as Well-being Interventions,” published in The Journal of Positive Psychology on November 22, 2022. The full article can be found on tandfonline.com.
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