How many times have you heard about getting happy from the inside out? The promise of this kind of happiness is much deeper, sweeter, stable and more authentic than external rewards. However, there is a way to get this deep sense of wellbeing from the outside in… Helping others!
There is a term used for the warm glow of emotions that you may feel from helping others and it is called the “helpers high”. This is because acts of kindness or contribution (time or money) can lead to short term lifts in mood as well as increased levels of overall life satisfaction. This is not a new phenomenon as giving has been linked to wellbeing for thousands of years, dating back to ancient Greece. Aristotle spoke of “eudaemonia” being the greatest achievement in life, whereby the deepest happiness is experienced when successfully performing moral duties.
Giving your time doesn’t have to be a self-sacrifice, it can be enjoyable too. The most enjoyable way to do this is think of something that you are good at, enjoy or are passionate about, which you will be able to share or contribute to. This gift is one that keeps on giving as not only does giving make you happy, but also happier people tend to give more often, creating an upward spiral of wellbeing.
Helping others can come in many different disguises such as offering some kind word of encouragement to dedicating hours of your day in service to others. An easy way to start is to do one or many of the following:
- Think of three people who you really care about and plan to do something nice for them, it doesn’t have to be expensive but try and make it thoughtful
- Perform a random act of kindness to a stranger, no small act of kindness is ever wasted… it can even be letting them out of a junction in your car
- Make a Christmas box and donate it to a child who will not be getting presents this year – Operation Christmas Child
- Donate to a charity or a cause that you would like to help
- Volunteer – for ideas, visit https://do-it.org
- Think of someone you know who could use your help, if they are moving house or new to your work, help them to settle
It is better to do what works for you… this list is not a prescription for what you need to do as these acts of kindness shine the brightest when they come from within. So if any of these ideas speak to your heart than please go ahead but if not then come up with your own.