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Altruism, Happiness, and Health: It’s Good to Be Good

Stephen G. Post – International Journal of Behavioral Medicine 2005, Vol. 12, No. 2, 66–77: “Altruistic (other-regarding) emotions and behaviors are associated with greater well-being, health, and longevity. This article presents a summary and assessment of existing research data on altruism and its relation to mental and physical health. It suggests several complementary interpretive frameworks, including evolutionary  biology, physiological models, and positive psychology. Potential public health implications of this research are discussed, as well as directions for future studies. The article concludes, with some caveats, that a strong correlation exists between the well-being, happiness, health, and longevity of people who are emotionally and behaviorally compassionate, so long as they are not overwhelmed by helping tasks.”

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