In a recent paper titled Character Strengths Involving an Orientation to Promote Good Can Help Your Health and Well-Being. Evidence From two Longitudinal Studies, Harvard researchers, Dorota Weziak-Białowolska, Piotr Białowolski of SHINE, and Tyler J. VanderWeele of The Human Flourishing Program, examine the impact of an orientation to promote good on flourishing outcomes.
Not much is known about the benefits of health and well-being of an orientation to promote good, i.e. having thoughts and taking actions that contribute to the good of oneself and others. As such this study aimed at examining how character strengths, reflected in an orientation to promote good, influence health and well-being.
The team examined two culturally different populations of adults – one from a large service organization based in the U.S. and one from a Mexican apparel production company in the supply chain of a major global brand.
The results indicated that an orientation to promote good—reflected in having consistent thoughts and taking actions that contribute to the good of oneself and others—was positively associated with the subsequent life satisfaction and happiness, self-assessed mental health and physical health, social connectedness and purpose and meaning in life, as well as with a lower risk of anxiety, loneliness and depression—with the strongest effects for life satisfaction and happiness and anxiety. They also suggest that an orientation to promote good has some potential to alleviate negative affect, especially that related to feeling stressed, sad and lonely while-at-work.
The results also further reinforce the evidence from experimental studies and meta-analyses that altruistic behaviors and using character strengths may indeed benefit emotional well-being and mental health.
Access the full paper here.