Study Finds Performing Acts Of Kindness Could Help Alleviate Depression And Anxiety

Depression and anxiety affect millions of people around the world, and there may be a new, unconventional treatment for them.

A new study found that performing acts of kindness could act as a form of medicine for those who experience depression and anxiety.

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The study, “Healing through helping: an experimental investigation of kindness, social activities, and reappraisal as well-being interventions,” was published in The Journal of Positive Psychology and shows that performing acts of kindness resulted in improvements in anxiety and depression.

In the study, the authors explain, “Social connection is vital to well-being and is often impaired among individuals with anxiety or depressive disorders…Acts of kindness may more effectively improve social connection and related dimensions of well-being than prevailing [cognitive behavioral therapy] techniques.”

Photo: Pexels/Lisa Fotios

In a press release, from Ohio State University, study author David Cregg said:

“These results are encouraging because they suggest that all three study interventions are effective at reducing distress and improving satisfaction. But acts of kindness still showed an advantage over both social activities and cognitive reappraisal by making people feel more connected to other people, which is an important part of well-being.”

Photo: Pexels/Helena Lopes

Study co-author Jennifer Cheavens added:

“There’s something specific about performing acts of kindness that makes people feel connected to others. It’s not enough to just be around other people, participating in social activities.”

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