With Christmas just around the corner it’s the season to be jolly and also a season to think about those who may be alone during this time.
Just reaching out to someone who is on their own and having a cup of coffee with them can make a huge difference to them and to you. Whenever you help someone there is always a benefit to you. This isn’t why you do this, but this is what happens.
As you give up your time for the benefit of someone else you will receive a host of benefits which will impact your life. These benefits are both physical and mental.
I have often said that one of the ways to real happiness is helping others without receiving anything in return. I have experienced this in my life and the list below highlights some of the tangible benefits of this wonderful work.
I found this article listing the 10 benefits of kindness and it crystalised my thoughts about this subject.
10 benefits of random kindness
1. Helping others feels good
There is some evidence to suggest that when you help others, it can promote physiological changes in the brain linked with happiness. This heightened sense of well-being might be the by-product of being more physically active as a result of volunteering, or because it makes us more socially active.
2. It creates a sense of belonging
Helping others can help us to make new friends and connect with our community. Face-to-face activities such as volunteering at a food bank can also help reduce loneliness and isolation.
3. It gives you a sense of purpose
Studies show that volunteering enhances an individual’s overall sense of purpose and identity. This is because helping others can make you feel rewarded, fulfilled, and empowered.
4. Giving helps keep things in perspective
Helping others, especially those who are less fortunate than yourself, can help to put things into perspective and make you feel more positive about your own circumstances.
5. It’s contagious
One study found that people are more likely to perform feats of generosity after observing another do the same. This effect can ripple throughout the community, inspiring dozens of individuals to make a difference.
6. Helping others can help you live longer
Regular volunteering can improve your ability to manage stress and stave off disease as well as increasing your sense of life satisfaction. This might be because volunteering alleviates loneliness and enhances our social lives.
7. It will give you a sense of renewal
Helping others can teach you to help yourself. If you’ve been through a tough experience or just have a case of the blues, the “activism cure” is a great way to get back to feeling like yourself.
8. You’ll boost your self-esteem
People who volunteer have been found to have higher self-esteem and overall wellbeing. The benefits of volunteering also depend on your consistency. So, the more regularly you volunteer, the more confidence you’ll gain.
9. You’ll create stronger friendships
When you help others, you give off positive vibes, which can rub off on peers and improve your friendships. Being a force for good in a friend’s life can help build a lasting bond.
10. You become a glass half-full type person
Having a positive impact on someone else could help you change your own outlook and attitude. Experts say that performing acts of kindness boosts your mood and ultimately makes you more optimistic and positive.
What a great way to live
Doing things for others – whether small, unplanned acts or regular volunteering – is a powerful way to boost our own happiness as well as those around us. The people we help may be strangers, family, friends, colleagues or neighbours. They can be old or young, nearby or far away.
Giving isn’t just about money, so you don’t need to be rich. Giving to others can be as simple as a single kind word, smile or a thoughtful gesture. It can include giving time, care, skills, thought or attention. Sometimes these mean as much, if not more, than financial gifts.
Science backs this up
Scientific studies show that helping others boosts happiness. It increases life satisfaction, provides a sense of meaning, increases feelings of competence, improves our mood and reduces stress. It can help to take our minds off our own troubles too.
Kindness towards others is the glue which connects individual happiness with wider community and societal wellbeing. Giving to others helps us connect with people and meets one of our basic human needs – relatedness.
Kindness and caring also seem to be contagious. When we see someone do something kind or thoughtful, or we are on the receiving end of kindness, it inspires us to be kinder ourselves.
In this way, kindness spreads from one person to the next, influencing the behaviour of people who never saw the original act. Kindness really is the key to creating a happier, more trusting local community.
As we approach the season of good cheer, think about others even if you are struggling yourself in some way. If you are experiencing any difficulties, it has been shown that as you focus on others the physical or mental pain you are feeling reduces and you experience positive emotions you weren’t expecting.
Thoughts for the week
- Who in your world is struggling in some way.
- This week reach out to them and encourage them.
- This can have a huge impact on them to know that someone cares.
- If possible, meet with them for a coffee or a bite to eat which is even better.
- Observe how you feel after you have done this.
Well, that’s it for this week, have a wonderful weekend and keep believing.