Helping others helps ourselves

Those who have helped others often profess a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment in doing so, gaining "helper benefits".

Research has shown that helping others can produce neurotransmitters such as oxytocin, which will make people feel good.

Also, similar to other pleasurable activities, the act of volunteering, giving and behaving prosocially can become addictive.

According to a survey, community health workers have been found to gain helper benefits, such as positive feelings about self, a sense of belonging, valuable work experience, and access to health information and skills, through their prosocial vocation.

These benefits may buffer against the various stressors inherent in this line of work.

Utilising the principle of helper benefits, psychologists have also developed "helper therapy", in which therapeutic benefits are gleaned from assisting others.

Research indicates that when distressed adolescents experiencing suicidal thoughts are seeking help using online community forums, they are actually developing a reciprocal prosocial community in that they provide support for one another and battle depression together.

Behaving prosocially has no boundaries and it cuts across all races and religions.

Helping others does not always mean giving, but it also means gaining in one's well-being.

Helping others will surely make Singapore a happier and more gracious community.

Yu Zhaoliang