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28th June 2021 - Megan Abernethy-Hope

Today we’ve been hearing about a remarkable young woman, Megan Abernethy-Hope, receiving the Diana Award for helping to launch the ‘Billy Chip’ scheme for rough sleepers and raise money for the hospital.

This set me thinking about what motivates her, and many others like her, to make such selfless acts. Humanists believe that the way to make yourself happy is to make others happy. This philosophical idea was first expressed by the C19th American humanist philosopher Robert Green Ingersoll. The latest research in behavioural science is showing that this is not just an abstract motion, but one rooted in fact.

What this is telling us is that acts of kindness boost our own sense of worth and well-being, as well of course as benefitting the recipient. If we give money to benefit other people we actually feel better than if we had spent it on ourselves. And that is despite people stating in advance that they thought the opposite!

Feeling happy, by improving well-being, also boosts our physical and mental health. There are other benefits to giving too. Making donations promotes social connection and social cohesion. If you give something, it makes it more likely that you will get something back in future.

What a brilliant virtuous human and social circle we can create by following Megan’s example.

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