Doing stuff for others, and the world, is selfish!

There are actually a lot of reasons why doing stuff for the environment, or for others, is actually great for your health and wellbeing. And, we are not talking about the long term effects of a better world.

There is very solid scientific evidence that our evolution has selected traits such as generosity and helpfulness in our genome. These traits helped us survive as a species because we are organisms that thrive best as groups. Altruistic genes are part of our makeup.

Research clearly shows that kindness to others significantly improves our health and wellbeing and, particularly, our happiness. Interestingly, Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) appear to have the highest impact.

In addition, many of our project ideas involve doing stuff outdoors, and often with others, be it your immediate family, or friends and neighbours. These too have been shown to improve health, wellbeing and happiness.

All of these activities have also been proven to reduce stress, anxiety and even depression.

So what are you waiting for – be selfish, do something for others and the world.

Building better habits | Oonagh Duncan | TEDxGrandePrairie

Forget big change, start with a tiny habit: BJ Fogg at TEDxFremont

Forming good habits is an easy habit!

There has been a lot of research about this and there are some very simple messages.

Make winning a habit: It is easier to make habits stick if the habits that you have already worked on have succeeded. So, the first lesson is to start by doing things that you are pretty sure will be easy to make into a habit. 

“I am going to walk a mile every day” is less likely to succeed than “every Saturday, I will walk to the local shop and buy something”.

This brings us to the next point. If your new habit rewards you in several ways, it is more likely to stick than one which feels like a chore, but you think it would be good to do.

So, if you walk to the local shop every Saturday, it’s not only very easy to do (winning), and you’re getting exercise and fresh air, etc., but you can also feel good about the fact that you are doing something towards shopping locally. That helps your community and helps the climate. And you will probably meet and chat with people and that’s that also can make you happier.

Clear and well-defined ideas are more likely to stick than woolly “it would be great if I could” plans.

For example, if you want to reduce food waste, then if you say “I will dedicate Wednesdays to looking at what I have in my fridge and larder and cook something with those ingredients”, this is more likely to become a habit than saying “I absolutely am going to waste less food!”