“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ― Winston Churchill
It’s easy to focus all your time and energy on what you have and what you want. That self-focus can increase when you’re faced with personal or professional challenges. You put your head down, think about what needs to get done, and work harder or faster to get through a rough patch. You might cut yourself off from friends and the community, saying you’ll get back to them when things take a turn for the better.
But what happens when you take the opposite approach? When you reach out to help others, even when you’re not sure precisely what you have to give? This can take the form of volunteering with a local charity or simply helping a colleague at work when you don’t need to.
A growing deluge of research shows that helping and giving can make you feel connected, grow in new ways and even live longer. Here are 10 ways helping others can also help you.
1. Helping makes you feel connected.
By engaging with other individuals and communities, you feel more connected to other people. Humans are social by nature–which means we need relationships for optimal psychological health. Connecting with others fulfills a need we all have but sometimes ignore. Beyond just the one-on-one connections, helping address a bigger issue or cause (like a charity that aims to reduce homelessness, or improve nutrition in low-income children, or provide greater access to education) can make you feel like a needed part of the world.
2. Helping can build new skills.
3. Helping makes you grateful.
4. Helping creates new relationships — and improves the ones you have.
5. Helping makes you live longer.
6. Helping can expand your identity.
7. Helping builds your reputation as a giver.
8. Helping boosts your self-esteem.
9. Not helping can stress you out.
Not helping when you know you should can actually lead to greater stress. Researchers have used experiments to determine that being stingy drives the release of cortisol, which is a physiological sign of stress. So on top of not getting the benefits of helping, by abstaining from helping you might even further taxing your system.
10. Helping builds your resume.
Featured photo credit: lmulej via pixabay.com
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