The Redesigning Wellness Podcast

057: It’s Good to be Good with Dr. Stephen Post

Stephen Post

How often do you incorporate or highlight doing good, giving, volunteering, mentoring, etc. within your wellness offerings? It turns out that giving can impact your well-being.

Today’s guest is Dr. Stephen Post. Stephen is an interesting fellow with a lot of knowledge around the benefits to doing good. In this interview, he defines what doing good means, the health benefits, if you can overdo doing good and how to incorporate doing good into the workplace. Stephen also makes fun of my southern accent and leaves us with a joke that my 4 year old loved.

The Interview (these notes are time stamped so if you can’t listen to all of it, you can easily get to the section you want to hear).

2:50: It’s Good to be Good. Dr. Post starts out by defining what doing good means. People thrive when they engage in helping others (at the right doses).

4:15: Stephen gets into the tactics of doing good. He discusses how the state of mind helps by turning off the negative pathways.

6:16: Priming of the mind: just thinking about doing good can benefit you.

9:43: Being forced may limit the benefit but you can still get some benefits. He offers great stats on these benefits.

13:20: Primary health benefits of doing good. Just to name a few: 92% enriched sense of purpose, 73% lowered stress levels, 76% feel better about their employers. He tells us about a survey United Healthcare conducted around volunteering.

16:53: His business hero and their history of failure, along with his recommended book for us.

23:24: Ways an employer can incorporate doing good. Stephen gives an example of a mall in Vancouver that gave 2 hours a week of paid time for 6 weeks for volunteering

25:30: How mentoring fits in with doing good.

27:00: Why Sweden is one of the happiest places in the world.

28:22: The dose response of doing good is 2 hours a week. Dr. Post explains how it’s slightly more complicated than the simple dose of 2 hours a week.

29:26: How you can overdo doing good, especially in the caregiving arena (compassion fatigue).

33:06: His words of wisdom for wellness pros. “Work should be love made visible.” -Kahlil Gibran

35:26: His finale….a workplace joke (don’t worry, it’s a clean joke)


Firms of Endearment

Full Bio:

An opinion leader, Stephen G. Post, Ph.D. is the best-selling author of Why Good Things Happen to Good People: How to Live a Longer, Happier, Healthier Life by the Simple Act of Giving (Random House). He has been quoted in more than 4000 national and international newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Parade Magazine, “O” Magazine, The US News & World Report, and Psychology Today. He has been interviewed on numerous television shows including Nightline, The Daily Show, and John Stossel. 

A transformative speaker, Post has inspired thousands with the best of medical and philosophical knowledge based on thirty years of research. Across North America, Australia, Europe, Japan and India his positive psychology message centers on how giving and contributing to the lives of others impacts happiness, health, success, creativity and even longevity. He was described by Martin E.P. Seligman in his book Flourish as one of “the stars of positive psychology.”  Post also addresses the ways in which empathic care enhances patient outcomes and professional well-being, the meaning of caring for “deeply forgetful” people, and ethical issues in Alzheimer Disease.

His writings were included in Best American Spiritual Writing in 2005. He has written eight scholarly books on generosity and compassionate care, and is the editor of nine others, including Altruism & Health: Perspectives from Empirical Research, and Altruism and Altruistic Love: Science, Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue, both published by Oxford University Press. In 2001 he founded the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love in 2001, named and supported by Sir John Templeton, who selected Post as President ( The Institute is a free-standing Ohio-based non-profit 501(c) 3 public charity that researches and distributes knowledge on giving and its benefits.

Post is the primary author of over 300 articles in peer-reviewed journals including Science, Annals of Internal Medicine, The New England Journal of Medicine, American Journal of Addictions, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Social Philosophy, Nature, American Journal of Psychiatry, First Things, Dementia, Journal of the American Medical Association, and Lancet. An elected Fellow of the Hastings Center and a Senior Scholar of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, Post served as Editor-in-Chief of the definitive 5-volume Encyclopedia of Bioethics (Macmillan Reference/Gale, 2004), which was awarded “Best Reference Work” by the American Library Association.


Wellness Professionals

Check out the free resource below to learn how you can have greater impact & influence in your organization.