In moments of uncertainty, there might be a tendency to want to stay at home, avoid risk, and begin questioning our ability to make it through whatever we are experiencing.
However, scientific research has shown that prosocial behavior as a life strategy is one sure fire way for us to feel like we are still safe and in control of our environment.
In the Section entitled Prosocial Development, in the book of Handbook of Child Psychology, prosocial behavior is defined as the following: “Prosocial behavior, or intent to benefit others, is a social behavior that “benefit[s] other people or society as a whole”, “such as helping, sharing, donating, co-operating, and volunteering. Obeying the rules and conforming to socially accepted behaviors are also regarded as prosocial behavior.”
Acts of compassion have an inherent quality that makes us all feel connected. In moments of uncertainty, there is a desire to feel like we are connected to something that we know.
Actively finding ways to connect with those that we know, I feel safe with, can be very fruitful and advantageous in the moments in our lives where we feel like there are unknown variables.
Altruism, the act of helping someone without the need for something to be reciprocated, is the highest form of prosocial behavior. During these current times, looking for opportunities to help others will give us a sense of connection, safety, and ultimately meaning.
Maybe for you, this means that, you can look for opportunities to virtually donate to a great cause, or to be a listening ear to someone who is equally all alone, in reality there are an endless collection of behaviors you can begin adopting to give others hope and meaning, as well as yourself.
In the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the following benefits emerges when someone participates in prosocial behavior: “ “Sustained helping without obligation: motivation, longevity of service, and perceived attitude change among AIDS volunteers”In the journal of personality and social psychology, the following benefits emerges when someone participates in prosocial behavior: “
In the end, helping others also benefits yourself. It will also benefit your own self-esteem and self perception. These are also important keys towards a more centered mental health. In short, prosocial behavior builds a sense of confidence and positive self perception of one’s own capability.
Helping someone today could be the best thing you could do for yourself.