The Healing Effects of Altruism

Whenever a situation comes to a person, there are many different situations that person can take it. Some people would take the situation as it is, some would deny it, and others would take it and make it someone else’s fault. Whether it is a professional athlete or a lawyer at a high-end firm, stress will never go away. Stress is one of the oldest issues that mankind has faced. In the world of ego psychology, this would be considered a defense mechanism for the ego. When the ego is challenged, usually anxiety come forth from it. The human body can handle anxiety for a long period of time, so the human mind creates defense mechanisms to help with it. Sigmund Freud was the one that brought forth the id, ego, and superego in psychology. It was then his findings that started ego psychology and helped Ana Freud, Signmund Freud’s daughter, to start with ego defenses. There are different levels of ego defense. Some are very primal such as denial. But, there are others that takes a high level of maturity to achieve.
Altruism is the highest level of ego defense out there. Whenever stress or anxiety happens, it is best to take it in an altruistic approach. Altruism is when a person helps someone in need that brings personal pleasure and satisfaction. One example would be when you had a bad day at work and your supervisor yells at you for an incomplete task. You get the work done, but that anger is still there. Before going home, you know you have a friend that needs help moving today. Call that friend and try helping them to the best of your ability. This is a way to give back to someone in need and to help you cope with the anxiety and anger that you face earlier. These ego defenses can change depending on the maturity of the person. Ego defenses are fluid, so a person can move from less mature ego defenses, such as denial, projection, and acting-out.
Whenever someone has a goal to self-improve themselves, one of the biggest barriers is their ego defense. It is important to know and understand that there are different approaches to situations and to know that people have ego defenses, then it would help people make better decisions when a bad situation arises. The example of the employee that was yelled at the boss at work. The employee first should take a deep breath and calm their nerves. It may sound cliché to take a deep breath, but it helps calm the nervous system and lower your heart rate when a person is in a state of anxiety. Then think about the situation and what it could cause later. It may cause anger, sadness, and maybe the person could yell at a love one at home, which is an example of displacement. But, if the person already knows these things, it is best to take it for something good. It will benefit that person and someone else in need.
Solomon Richberg, MSW
Owner- Elite Sports Counseling

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