Helping Others Helps You Too
You lug your elderly neighbor’s groceries up her steps, and you know it’s a good deal for her, right? What might surprise you is that it’s likely good for you too.
People who regularly help other people experience less depression, manage stress better, and have better health. They may even live longer! Research says;
- Students who performed five acts of kindness a day increased their happiness
- Providing emotional support to others significantly decreased the harmful health effects of certain kinds of stress among older people
- People who donated money to charity got a boost in a feel-good part of the brain, as revealed in brain imaging research
Doing good can make you feel good. It might;
- remind you that compared to some you’re relatively lucky
- make you feel connected to others
- help you feel needed and effective
- take your mind off your own worries for a while
- make you feel generous
- add a sense of purpose and meaning to your life
A little help for my friends and neighbors. Small gestures can mean a lot to others. You don’t have make huge time commitments. Sure, helping can mean serving meals at a homeless shelter every week. But it also can mean jumping up to offer a hand when you know that someone could use it.
- Call a friend who’s feeling low.
- Make a parent a cup of early morning coffee
- Hold the door for someone who has an armload
- Smile broadly at a passing stranger
- Ask an acquaintance how they are doing, and listen for a real response.
Balance the act with the results
- You’ve heard the saying, “practice small acts of kindness.” A little generosity goes a long way to making you and others feel happier.
- Beware of taking on too much, or you’ll risk feeling resentful. When asked a favor, think it over before saying yes.
- Be grateful when thanks come your way, but be satisfied with the effort, even when praise doesn’t follow.
Ways to Volunteer
If you like to:
- read… consider volunteering at a school or tutoring program.
- work outdoors… try volunteering to clean up a local park.
- speak another language…. help people who’s first language isn’t English.
- work with peers… pitch in at the Boys & Girls Club.
- play sports… volunteer as a coach for little kids.
- cook… offer to help out in a kitchen for the homeless, or at a community holiday meal.
- save the world… there are lots of great causes that need volunteers. Show up!
Ask your guidance counselor or community service coordinator what other opportunities there are around your area to contribute time and effort. You might be surprised how good it make you feel!