A recent article on The Guardian website highlights a study showing that there may be a link between political activism and happiness. Researchers Malte Klar of the University of Gottingen and Tim Kasser of Knox College compared a sample of college students and activists with a control group and found that “several indicators of activism were positively associated with measures of hedonic, eudaimonic, and social well-being.” In other words, activism may not always be fun, but it might make you happier.
In part of the study, college students were divided into two groups. The first wrote letters to the college cafeteria management asking for better food. The second group were told to take a more activist approach and requested that local or fairly traded products be offered. The activist group reported stronger feelings of vitality after the activity.
Many Idealist users have probably already intuited the connection between civic engagement and feelings of happiness. This study provides some data to back up our claims, and to encourage others to get involved.
To find opportunities for activism on Idealist, try searching for a volunteer opportunity using a keyword of your choice. Or select from the list of “Areas of Focus,” many of which can be politically oriented (some examples include: Disability Issues, Energy Conservation and Green Living, Government Oversight and Reform, Human Rights and Civil Liberties, Politics, and Prison Reform).