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Wellness

HOW TO HACK YOUR BRAIN: 5 WAYS TO PRACTICE ALTRUISM

Altruism is the selfless consideration of other people and the act of doing things for others out of a genuine desire to help and concern for their well-being. Have you ever wondered why you feel great after performing altruistic acts, like holding the door open for a mother and her child or helping someone out? In What Is Altruism? by Kendra Cherry, the author explains that “altruism activates reward centers in the brain and neurobiologists have found that when a person behaves altruistically, the pleasure centers of their brain become more active." 

Altruism has a wide range of benefits, including improved health and better romantic relationships. Behaving altruistically can improve physical health in a number of ways. For example, Cherry explains that “people who volunteer have better health, and regularly engage in helping others, [which] is linked to a significantly lower mortality [rate]."

Romantic relationships can be hard for anyone, but studies have shown that engaging in compassionate behaviors can improve them. In their article, Cherry highlights that “kindness is one of the most important qualities that people across all cultures seek in a romantic partner."

After learning the basics of this concept, here are five simple ways to get started on your altruism journey: 

  • Be kind to someone you aren’t particularly fond of
  • Pick up trash
  • Eat a meal you love
  • Watch your favorite movie of all time
  • Share your knowledge with someone 
Diana Urias

UC Berkeley '22

Diana is currently a senior majoring in Sociology at UC Berkeley and looking forward to graduating in 2022. She is from San Jose, California and has a personal interest in working with young people who are in foster care and or incarcerated in juvenile detention. Diana also enjoys writing as a form of therapy and self-expression particularly journaling.
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