In today’s digital age, people hardly ever wish good for one another. In fact, people look at one another’s pictures on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat with envy in their eyes. When they view each other with hate and comparison, they never wish good for one another. And this can lead to stress.
While countless studies have visited the benefits that helping others can have on the mental health of oneself, and research has many times dived into how volunteering makes one happier, few studies have explained what wishing good for others does for one.
Similarly, the negative side effects of using social media have also been studied in-depth with excess use of social media having been accused of being a cause for anxiety, stress, and depression.
Now a new study has revealed that simply being a well-wisher of others can also enable one to reduce stress markers. This research which has been published in the Journal of Happiness Studies has shown that kindness can also up one’s empathy along with reducing anxiety.
What Does This New Study Reveal?
To study the impact that that wishing good for others has, researchers involved in the study went for three strategies. They checked the potential that loving-kindness, interconnectedness, and downward social comparison could have on one’s mood.
College students who were a part of the research were asked to spend 12 minutes following one of these three strategies:
- Loving-kindness: students were asked to genuinely think well for the people they saw
- Interconnectedness: students were asked to look at people and think what similar hopes or feelings they could have with them
- Downward social comparison: students were asked to look at people and think about the ways they led a better life than them
There was also a control group which was told to judge people by their outward appearance including physical features and clothing among other such factors. Participants were then made to fill a survey which was compared to the control group. The survey measured happiness, anxiety, stress, and empathy markers prior to and following the experiment.
Results showed that the first strategy of loving-kindness had participants feeling happier, and more empathetic along with feeling less anxiety. On the other hand, the third strategy of downward social comparison had people feeling less empathetic. Researchers explained that this was owning to the strategy’s basic comparative nature.
Researchers also said that while offering kindness by thinking good for others can have a positive impact on our mental health, such a strategy can be challenging to follow in the digital age because social media forces many to compare themselves with others which can cause stress.
There have been several studies which have proven helping others to be fruitful for oneself. Now a new study suggests that simply wishing good for others can also reduce stress levels and improve one’s mental wellbeing along with making one more empathetic and happier.