Why helping others helps us
"Use your life to serve the world, and you will find that it also serves you."
- Oprah Winfrey
Helping others feels good. There is plenty of evidence to support this claim. Besides helping us live longer and reducing stress, helping people releases the happy feel-good chemicals that elevate our mood. It should be a no-brainer as to why this is the case. Think of it the other way around, when we receive help from others. We feel good. Hopefully, we are grateful that someone took the time to help us with whatever we needed assistance with at the time.
Another big reason it feels good to help others is it makes us feel like we are helping to make a positive difference in their lives. We have some value we are able to provide. Bonus points for helping people we don't know and expect nothing in return. It could be something as simple as having a conversation with someone who feels ignored or marginalized. Sometimes, just being nice to others is enough to brighten their day and help improve their mood. It doesn't take much, but it can make a world of difference!
Helping others has such a profound impact that simply observing an act of kindness can boost the observer's mood. How amazing is that?!?! It's a win-win situation for everyone, including bystanders. There is something within all of us that responds positively to positive interactions, which should encourage everyone to put more effort into helping and supporting others, even in the smallest capacity. It feels good to help others feel good. Simple as that.
There are so many ways to help others. Volunteering at local organizations is great, but even reaching out to friends, family and colleagues who could use our help is a good start. We can offer our time and knowledge to those who could really use it. So, next time you are wondering what to do with whatever free time you have to spare, consider helping someone or some organization out in some way. It can be something as simple as a compliment or a 5-star review. Not only are you helping them out, you are helping yourself out in the process.
Very Well Mind: Helping Others Can Increase Happiness and Reduce Stress
Psychology Today: In Helping Others, You Help Yourself