In the November newsletter, I listed a variety of things we can do to get through a transition more easily and asked people to send me additional ideas that had worked for them. I am pleased that so many of you are reading the newsletter and gratified when you respond. I received one email that didn’t just strike home because I had forgotten one idea that is a glaring omission on my part. It is also the time of year when people are even more likely to embrace this activity than at other times.
When you are stressed, feeling overwhelmed, unbearably gloomy, or simply experiencing an overriding sense of ennui, some of the world’s greatest thinkers (as well as a client of mine) suggest that happiness is found in helping others.
This is the time of year when you frequently hear that it is better to give than to receive. But that’s something that is true all year long. There is even scientific evidence to back this up. MRI technology reveals that giving activates the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by food and sex – pleasure.
The goal is to give until it feels good.
WHY Help and Give to Others:
Feels good – There will be physiological changes in the brain linked with happiness when you help others. Being more socially active can make you feel good.
Provides a sense of purpose – Volunteering enhances your overall sense of purpose and identity. You can feel rewarded, fulfilled, and empowered.
Creates a sense of belonging – You will meet new people and connect with your community. Face-to-face activities (even with masks and social distancing) can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Gives perspective – Helping those less fortunate may put things into perspective so that you end up feeling more positive about your own circumstances.
Is contagious – After seeing someone perform an act of generosity, studies show that people feel inspired to do the same. Who knows who you might inspire!
Renews your sense of well-being – Helping others can make you feel more like your ‘old’ self.
Boost self-esteem – Those who volunteer have been found to have high self-esteem. It’s a confidence builder.
Helps optimism – You just might become a more optimistic person
When you have a positive impact on someone else, it helps to change your own attitude and outlook. The benefit might just be an elevation of your mood and a more positive outlook.
WHAT to Give:
Your time – The gift of time is precious. If you have some time on your hands, even if it’s only an hour a day or a couple of days a year, it can make a huge difference to someone else.
Your money – Donate to organizations you support. What you do with your money can lead to a feeling that you are supporting causes that are important to you and your community in meaningful ways.