Acts of kindness: a new cure for depression and anxiety

act of kindness

This is how helping others can make you happier too!

New research shows that performing an act of kindness could actually be beneficial for your mental health. Researchers from The Ohio State University found that when people do good deeds for others, they heal themselves. 

Acts of kindness

The research, conducted by David Cregg and Jennifer Cheavens, involved 122 people. All of the participants had symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress; varying from moderate to severe. The participants were split into three groups. Two groups that had to work with cognitive behavioral therapy-techniques and one group had to perform three acts of kindness a day for two days a week. These acts could be anything. As long as they were beneficial to others and at some cost to the participants (in terms of time and/or resources). These participants went on to bake cookies for their friends, left words of encouragement around the house, or gave people a ride. For five weeks, the participants had to stick to their instructions. After that, the results were evaluated.


The best result of the study was that people from all groups felt better. That means that the regular techniques that are usually used for treatment of depression and anxiety, worked too. But the third group, that performed acts of kindness, felt the best of all. David Cregg told Ohio State News: “…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.” And it is not just about being social. According to Jennifer Cheavens, the people who just participated in social activities didn’t show as much improvement as the people who did good for other people. “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,” Cheavens said.

This means that if you have been feeling low, helping someone out might just be what you need to feel better. Cregg concludes: “Something as simple as helping other people can go above and beyond other treatments in helping heal people with depression and anxiety.”

Also read: Fighting the winter blues: how to feel better in winter

Source: Ohio State News | Image: Unsplash, Randalyn Hill