Pro social behaviors are those intended to help other people without an expectation of reward.
Pro social behavior is characterized by a concern for the rights, feelings, and welfare of other people. Behaviors that can be described as pro social can be characterized as expressing concern for others and feeling empathy. Pro social behavior is a way of acting in which you help other people.
Everyone can benefit from behaving in a pro social manner. It will ensure we have better relationships with other people in our lives. In all likelihood we want to surround ourselves with people who behave in a pro social manner as well—people who express concern and empathy. Pro social behavior is crucial for enduring relationships. It is also beneficial to our mental health.
Being in education and mental health, my profession is by nature meant to be pro social. On a personal level, I derive many benefits from working in a “helping” profession.
Yet I feel we can all derive benefits from behaving in a pro social manner, regardless, of our profession. The opportunities for pro social behavior are all around us (especially this time of year). Volunteering, donating, altruism, care giving, helping our family and friends all create opportunities to be pro social.
We, as human beings, are designed to be pro social. We have an innate drive to do things for one another that is beyond our need to survive. Pro social behavior enriches our lives and brings a sense of meaning.
Our world is in need of more pro social behavior. The benefits to us and others are tremendous.
Everyone can choose to behave pro socially. Acting out of genuine concern for other people and offering our help and support is something we all can all do. If behaving pro socially is a value of ours. In our society we have stopped seeing ourselves as part of a community, focusing more on our individual well-being. Not everyone cares to help anyone beyond themself. This is a sad truism. Yet behaving in a pro social manner is shown to have many psychological and emotional benefits.
Research reveals that those who act pro socially tend to be happier, healthier, and live longer. Those who don’t act pro socially tend to suffer the psychological cost that comes with guilt.
Empathy is a strong motive in eliciting pro social behavior.
Examples of pro social behavior might include:
- Comforting a friend through a tough time
- Surprising your coworkers with coffee in the morning
- Donating clothes and toiletries to the local shelter
- Helping a sick relative with getting to doctor’s appointments
- Showing empathy to people in your life who are struggling through a tough time
- Offering to cook dinner for a friend who recently gave birth
The examples are endless.
True pro social behavior is done out of a genuine desire to help. Thus if you are only volunteering or donating your money/time to post on social media or brag to family and friends–this is being driven more for one’s social status and image. Unfortunately, people are generally much more likely to act pro-socially in a public setting rather than in a private setting. The reason being this has done with perceived status, being publicly recognized as a pro-social individual often enhance one’s self-image and desirability to be considered for inclusion in social groups. Volunteering has become a social class indicator and may drive some people’s volunteerism.
It is important to our society, our colleagues, our families, our extended social circles that we behave in a pro social manner in both public and private settings. It is inherently beneficial to ourselves and those we surround ourselves with. What good is it to volunteer at your church’s soup kitchen and come home and mistreat your own family?
Pro social behavior is important to our emotional and mental well-being. It allows us to interact with others in an appropriate manner.
We derive fulfillment from helping others. Find someone who needs what you have and help them earn it. Pay it forward.
There is no better feeling than extending a hand to another person. This is the premise of pro social thinking.
What can you do today to be a benefit to your community?
To schedule a counseling session with me (AND if you are a reader who lives in New Jersey):
Anew Counseling Services LLC
617 Oradell Avenue, Suite 3, Oradell, New Jersey, 07649