You always thought it felt good to help others, and it turns out it really does have a significant impact on wellbeing! There is strong research evidence that helping others in meaningful ways generally results in greater health, happiness, resilience and longevity. Altruism and volunteering lead to both hedonic wellbeing (feeling good) and eudaimonic wellbeing (feeling good about oneself) in a way that enriches the giver’s sense of meaning and purpose in life. So by helping others, you’re also helping yourself!

Have you been wanting to get more involved in the community, or share your involvement with family, friends and colleagues? Altruism and kindness can combat loneliness and help strengthen our community; in the words of UVA President Jim Ryan: “We should strive not only to be great, but also to be good…by being of service to others and by being a good neighbor to the Charlottesville region.”

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand new research on the positive impact of altruism on life satisfaction, happiness, and social wellbeing.
  2. Learn how to incorporate altruism & kindness into your daily life, to combat loneliness and boost happiness
  3. Learn ways that you can get involved in UVA’s Day of Caring, as well as yearlong opportunities in our community.
  4. Participate in small group discussion to generate ideas about how to bring these concepts into your daily life.

About the Presenters

Mary Sherman is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Employee Assistance Professional with over 20 years of experience. She has worked with the University of Virginia Faculty and Employee Assistance Program since 1996. She obtained her Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology and is additionally trained as a professional coach. She has expertise helping employees improve communication skills, balance work and home, manage stress, and increase happiness. She is a dynamic and engaging presenter on a variety of positive practices designed to enhance people’s overall well-being.

Matthew Fritts, MPH, PMP is a Well-Being Specialist with Hoos Well, the University’s employee well-being program. His 20 years of experience in the public health field includes positions within the National Cancer Institute’s Behavioral Research Program and at the Samueli Institute, a non-profit clinical research organization. He leverages his expertise in psychological health promotion and 20+ years of experience as a yoga and meditation teacher, to plan and manage Hoos Well’s programs for enhancing mental and emotional wellbeing. He is a UVA alumnus and former Lawn resident. Browse his 15 peer-reviewed publications here.