Tell me a better way than helping others to achieve self-satisfaction and happiness. I, referring to ancient teachings and scientific resources, bet you can’t. The act of helping and giving to others is the most effective, and maybe also the easiest, way to make everyone, including you, happy.
There is a Chinese saying that goes, “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” You see it is not just in our age, but in the old times in China, people knew where to look for happiness.
Martin Luther King Jr. also recognized the significance of helping those in need by stating, “Somewhere along the way, we must learn that there is nothing greater than to do something for others."
There is also scientific research that proves the psychological and physical benefits of this approach. After doing a humanitarian act, humans experience the feeling of elation called “Helper’s High.”
The size of the help is not a contributing factor to the “Helper’s High” as long as the act was done in a selfless way.
Anything could be an act of kindness if it is made at the right time and place. For example, calling a friend we have not spoken to in a long time is nothing less than helping a neighbor with their needs.
Showing appreciation to close family and friends, asking a colleague about their family, volunteering at a shelter for homeless people, help with household chores, and so on can also be counted as examples of helping others.
Do not think that helping only benefits the receiver. The giver gets just as much benefit in helping others as much as the receiver does. The help-giver will have an increased feeling of well-being while being encouraged to pursue a more active life.
There is also evidence that suggests, the help we offer to others can stimulate changes in the brain that are linked with happiness. It is also proven that helping others reduces the feeling of isolation and stress, helps us keep a positive outlook on our own lives, inspires others to take action and form stronger bonds with others.
Many researchers also believe that these activities can improve health in the long run due to the fact that volunteering has proven to reduce depression rates by enriching our social lives and giving us a purpose.
However, most of the time charitable deeds are not done out of pure intentions. The beliefs such as "a favor for a favor" are the main motivation resource for most people. Because it is easier to help someone if we know that one day, they will help us the same way.
The karma principle is also an important factor for so many people when it comes to helping others and being a good person. If you do bad, bad will come to find you. And when you are a good person and help people, good things will happen to you.
There are many more benefits of helping others. In most situations, those who are known for doing good deeds make a good impression on others. That may help one in critical times such as job or college applications.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia and the Harvard Business School have found that happiness can be obtained just by spending your money on others.
The researchers gave participants a $5 or $20 bill and asked them to spend the money by 5 p.m. Half of the participants were instructed to spend the money on themselves, and the other half were assigned to spend the money on others.
Participants who spent the money on others reported feeling happier at the end of the day than those who spent the money on themselves.
In some cases, our loved ones may not accept that they are in need and reject our offers to help them. Under those circumstances, it is crucial to realize that the situation they are experiencing can be scary and new therefore seeking help for them can be seen as a weakness that they are not willing to accept.
Giving them time, being available for them, offering suggestions, doing some research on their problem and getting informed, talking to someone professional, setting limits to avoid offending our loved ones, not pressuring them can be helpful under those conditions. However, if the situation is urgent, it is pivotal to seek help from professionals or calling a helpline.
Not overdoing when offering our help to others is crucial for our mental health. We should start with baby steps to avoid being overwhelmed. Especially it is important to know your financial limits when it comes to helping people through charity.
Lastly, there is one important thing to be aware of for a more efficient helping experience. Do not forget that making long speeches full of advice or trying to change one's personality is nothing about helping others. Indeed, such acts may be damaging for their mental health.
To conclude, before helping someone who is in a tough spot, make sure that your actions are going to help them in the long run and not just let them escape immediate consequences. We should differentiate between helping and making excuses. Anyone can make excuses to get away from their problems but trying to take a step for a better self and accepting help is what takes courage.
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