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Chapter 8: Helping Others Helps

Your Health

Superheroes, UNICEF and random kindness

Helpful animals and human altruism

"...Humans like to pretend we are unique in truly caring for others. In the words of the Dutch primatologist, Frans de Waal: “People willfully suppress knowledge most have had since childhood, which is that animals do have feelings and do care about others. How and why half the world drops this conviction once they grow beards or breasts will always baffle me, but the result is the common fallacy that we are unique in this regard”. In reality, altruism and helping behaviors are far from rare in the animal kingdom...." [excerpt from Growing Young]

Psychologist Lara Aknin on giving


Cortisol swabs for my random kindness "experiment"

Animal altruism

My random kindness "experiment" cortisol results:

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  • What links parenting and cigarettes?

  • How much should you donate / volunteer to live longer?

  • What if you volunteer just so that your college application/resume look better? Is that good for health, too?

  • Do people who care for their sick family members better or worse off in terms of health?

  • Answers to these questions (and much more!) in the book

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