Doing something good for other people, we note a positive effect on ourselves. Our mood gets better, our self-esteem rises, and we begin to think of ourselves in the superlative degree, knowing that we deservedly take our place in the world.
Now, there is scientific evidence that spontaneous acts of kindness have therapeutic value in treating mood disorders, such as depression.
Acts of kindness are an effective and inexpensive medication for depression. The experts speak about it more and more often when they deal with the treatment of such diseases. Aren’t you smiling now? Well, this proves that you do not suffer from frequent depression. Spontaneous good deeds (going to the pharmacy, helping to bring heavy bags, showing the required street) are able to improve our mood for 10 minutes. And it is enough to make people with chronic depression feel better. Let us try to understand that such people spend all the time in this state, and they experience almost no positive emotions. So, if the day gets “sunnier” for even 10 minutes, the person will surely notice it and will be looking forward to it.
Sonia Lubomirska, professor of psychology at the University of California, confirms this theory. After careful examination of the therapeutic effect of positive emotions, Lubomirska and her colleagues have found that the people, inclined to have depression, can help themselves, simply by helping others. If we remember that more than 100 million people worldwide suffer from this disease, and most of them do not receive proper treatment or do not want to go to the doctor, this method will not seem so unrealistic and stupid.
However, this is not the only form of self-medication, through which a person, suffering from depression, can alleviate his or her condition. Lubomirska recommends to be kinder to others, to say thank you for the help, think optimistically and think about the good things in life. In short, people should use every chance to get rid of the feeling of emptiness and pull themselves out of the bog of depression on their own, just as Munchausen. It turns out that it is the person, who must help himself or herself, and only then recovery will come, as in the case with an alcoholic or a drug addict, who also has to choose between the addiction and the life, full of joy in all its manifestations.