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Blog Home » The healing power of ‘giving’ to others – kindness (MHAW 2023)

The healing power of ‘giving’ to others – kindness (MHAW 2023)

Today we’re delving into the second of the ‘Five Ways’ of the five days of Mental Health Awareness Week 2023. ‘Give’ or ‘Tukua’, is an act that not only benefits others but also fuels your own wellbeing.

‘Give’ is about kindness, altruism and acts of generosity, actions that boost your happiness, life satisfaction and overall wellbeing. It’s incredible how something as simple as lending a helping hand or offering a kind word can uplift not only others but yourself as well.

What the science says about giving

The scientifically proven benefits of being kind on our mental health are numerous. Witnessing acts of kindness increases oxytocin, our ‘love hormone’, which increases your self-esteem and optimism. Helping others stimulates the production of serotonin, which makes you happy, calmer and less depressed. When you are kind to others your brain’s pleasure and reward centres light up in a ‘helpers high’, as if you yourself have been the recipient of the good deed! 

The virtuous cycle of giving and receiving – Dave Letele’s story

Aotearoa’s own Dave Letele epitomises the essence of selfless giving and community engagement. Back in 2014 when Dave, aka the Brown Buttabean, had just moved back to New Zealand, he was in bad shape physically, but in even worse shape mentally and emotionally. He’d lost his businesses, his material things and his family. Inspired to get his children back, Dave began a weight loss journey that saw him morph from an angry, depressed 200kg self-described ‘loser’ into a fit, healthy, tireless campaigner for the disadvantaged.  Over the years, Dave’s BBM (Brown Buttabean Motivation) community bootcamps, exercise programs and food share have profoundly impacted his community’s physical and mental wellbeing, fostering a sense of hope and empowerment among its members.

Dave says he was inspired to help others by the people who helped him when he was in need:

“There were always people around that would come in, and who really helped me. People that would just turn up to my house and alter the way I was, would just give me 50 bucks or come over and bring some food, and it would always happen at just the right time. Because it was around those times where I was thinking, “Man, I can’t handle this, I can’t handle having no money. I can’t handle being broke”, and I was tempted to go do silly things. And always people came around just at the right times, through the grace of God, and just helped me. So that’s what we do now.”

Remarkably, Dave’s commitment to giving back has not only transformed the lives of others but, in one big virtuous cycle of giving and receiving, it has also had a profound impact on his own mental health. By dedicating himself to the betterment of his community, he has found purpose and fulfilment, combating personal challenges along the way. Dave is a reminder that collective progress and personal growth are intricately intertwined, and through acts of kindness, we can all contribute to the betterment of society while strengthening our own mental resilience.

How could you give?

This Tuesday and ongoing, embrace the power of ‘Give’. By engaging in acts of kindness and generosity, you’ll not only make a positive impact on the world but also enhance your own mental health. It’s a beautiful two-way street. In doing so, you’ll uncover the transformative effects giving has, both on the world around you and within yourself.

Interested in checking in on your own mental health this Mental Health Awareness Week? Check out Loffty comprehensive online mental health assessment.