Social Activism Makes You Happier and More Resilient, Says Science

Why social activism is good for your brain_people marching

This weekend, millions of people will gather for the second year in a row in support of the Women’s March – an event that commenced last year the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. This year, marches in all 50 states and around the globe are calling for action at the polls. The goal is to get people to register to vote, and to show up on voting day. 

Wherever you fall on the political spectrum, or on the issue of this march in particular, finding a cause that speaks to you is one of the most Bulletproof steps you can take to increase your resilience and feel good about yourself. In fact, there’s even a term to quantify the health benefits of activism and social engagement – it’s called the “activism cure.”

What makes helping others so powerful? Activism builds a sense of identity and empowerment[]. It allows you to feel like you have greater control over life, which helps prevent helplessness and hopelessness[]. Personal identity, empowerment, and greater self-preservation and control all tie into better resilience – or the ability to adapt and become stronger in the face of adversity. Physical and mental resilience play a part in everything from increased longevity to better mental health, which is why it’s a core tenant of being Bulletproof.

The health benefits of activism have a physiological basis. Activism triggers the brain to release a shot of dopamine – a chemical involved in pleasure and reward. Dopamine, the same chemical that gets triggered during sex, motivates you to seek out what feels good. It also plays important roles in sleep, attention, and mood. Research from the National Institute on Mental Health even shows helping others give people a jolt of energy and, in some cases, alleviates physical pain[]. In that way, volunteering and showing up for a meaningful cause helps you and others as well.

Interested to learn more about activism’s benefits? Watch the video below, then share with your family and friends to inspire them to a make a difference – not only in others’ lives but their own too.

Image Courtesy: 
Lydia Yekalam, Michael Edwards, Brian Kay, Ed Myers, Scott Engelhardt, Susie Orr, Denise Barrett, Louisa Barash, Emily Smoot, Brodie Nelson, 
Keith Sanders Turner, Danielle Fiorito-Grzesiuk



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