May 25, 2010; Source: In These Times | Engaged political activists don’t just make the world better for others, according to a new survey, but their actions also contribute to their overall happiness. The findings, reported in a recent edition of Political Psychology, are that activism fulfills human needs on several levels, giving meaning and purpose to life, while making us feel happier, more competent, autonomous, secure, and connected. Two kinds of protest, marching and petitioning, were found to be of best benefit, and, while the researchers distanced themselves from it, what they termed high-risk activism—direct action, for example—was a close second place. Anger, so frequently a motivator for activists, isn’t assuaged by activism, at least psychologically, but the benefits to your mental health are still many, and might just be more fuel for the fire.—James David Morgan
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