What is Altruism?

Altruism basically means an act that we used to perform when we act to promote the welfare of someone, even at the cost of risking ourselves. Basically, it is a non-selfish concern for others by doing some simple things just out of a desire to help, not because of any obligation to out of duty, loyalty, or any religious region.

Sometimes, these acts of altruism lead to the people jeopardizing themselves by helping others. This behavior of altruism in people is performed just out of a desire to help, to expect no reward or something. Also, there is another term reciprocal altruism, which involves taking actions by the people to help others with some expectations, such as any kind of help.

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Examples of Altruism

To understand altruism in a better way, the best way is to do it is from examples. Every day is filled with some minor acts of altruism. These acts can be anything, from holding a door for strangers or giving some money to the needy. Some cases appear to be a little grander, such as a man diving into a river with icy water to rescue a drowning stranger or a donor who gives away a lot of money to a local charity. Similarly, there are several other examples related to altruism.

Types of Altruism

According to psychologists and their identification, there are certain types of altruistic behavior and these types include-

  • Genetic Altruism- This is one type of altruism. And as its name suggests, this type of altruism involves the engagement in altruistic acts that prove to be beneficial for the close members of the family. For example- some members of the family or parents often get engaged in some acts of sacrifice in order to fulfill the needs of other members of the family.
  • Reciprocal Altruism- This other type of altruism is basically based on a mutual understanding of it works on the fundamentals of give and take. It is basically doing something good for another person or helping him/her because they will help you back or do you a favor whenever needed.
  • Group-selected altruism- Another type of altruism is group-selected altruism. This type of altruism involves the engagement of altruistic acts for people based upon their group affiliation. People may direct their efforts toward helping the people who are part of their own social group or supporting the social causes that are beneficial for that specific group.
pure altruism
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  • Pure Altruism- This type of altruism is also known as moral altruism. This type of altruism involves helping someone else or doing something well for someone else even when your life or something important is at stake and also knowing that you will get none of the rewards for that neither you are expecting anything. A person is motivated by internalized values and morals.

Also Read, Schizophrenia 101: Everything you Must Know…

Health Benefits of Altruism

Altruism leads to several health benefits and these health benefits include-

  • Helping others feel good- There are evidences that suggests when a person helps another person, it helps in the promotion of psychological changes in the brain that is linked with happiness. Helping others and doing good for others helps a person to build a contact and network that encourages a person to stay active and helps in improving their self-esteem.
  • Altruism helps in creating a sense of belonging and reduces isolation- Helping others and volunteering for the help of others can help up to a great extent to a person feel a sense of belonging, make new friends, and connect with a particular community. For example, indulging in the face-to-face activities such as offering help at a food bank can help a lot in the reduction of isolation and loneliness.
  • Altruism helps in keeping things in perspective- The importance of having a different perspective on the outlook of life is important. And so many people do not realize the impact of it. Helping people, especially those who are less fortunate, can help a lot in putting the things into a perspective and makes you feel positivity. Shreds of evidence have been found that being aware of your own acts of kindness along with the things you are grateful for, bits of help in the increment of feelings of optimism, happiness, and satisfaction. This can help you get a wider and optimistic perspective about your own circumstances.
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  • Altruism helps in making the earth a better and happier place to live in- It’s contagious Acts of kindness and helping others have enough potential to make this planet a happier place. The acts of kindness can help a person improve the feelings of confidence, optimism, happiness, and being in control. It also encourages others to repeat the good deeds that they have received from someone and also inspires others to help someone in need.