Dear Kids and All Readers,
Are you altruistic?
Kids, in case that’s a new word for you, please allow me to become Lanny the Lexicon for a moment and define it for you: Altruism (noun) means being generous; volunteering; helping others–one or more people, animals, or organizations–without expecting anything in return. Altruism is a good deed you can do. But did you know that, sometimes, being altruistic could put you at risk or become very costly. This is called “heroic altruism.” Still, some decide to help others out of concern, not expecting any reward for themselves. MANY forms of altruism are safe and can make a big difference for others.
According to greatergood.berkeley.edu, studies show that people’s first impulse is to help. Evolutionary scientists speculate that altruism is deeply rooted in human nature because cooperation promotes survival. Charles Darwin called altruism “sympathy” and “benevolence” and “an essential part of the social instincts.” His claim is supported by current neurological studies that show when people are altruistic, “their brains activate in regions that signal pleasure and reward, similar to when they eat chocolate.”
So, get a clue, Kids and Readers. Even if you aren’t seeking a reward when acting altruistically, your brain responds as if you did! I hope you will find safe ways to be altruistic. That’s how to make the good you do become even greater and satisfying.
And if you’d like to read more about why some people risk their lives to help others, please click HERE.
For an in-depth overview of where generosity comes from, what its benefits are, and how to cultivate it, please click HERE.