During those days that you feel down and sad, give this a try: ask yourself “How can I help?” Now, I know that most often than not, we’d rather just hibernate and immerse ourselves in all the negative emotions. That’s okay. I believe that we do need to feel these things before we feel better. But once you decide to do something about it, instead of just looking for ways to make yourself feel better, look for ways to help someone else instead.
“For it is in giving that we receive.” – St. Francis of Assisi
According to research, giving or helping others fires up the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by food and sex. Even if helping others require your time and effort, the act of giving helps boost your own well-being. Personally (no research involved here 😄), I think it’s also because the act of helping others gets you out of your own head. You begin to see outside of your sadness and how you can contribute to something or someone other than yourself.
Recently, I have been questioning what my purpose is. I believe we don’t have one sole purpose, we just have different ones on different seasons of our lives. And while I’m still figuring out what mine is at this point, helping others gives me a little sense of purpose, thus making me feel more fulfilled and happy. It also helps build relationships with our community, whether it be with friends or colleagues.
So go ahead, give it a try. Lend your ear to a distressed friend. Offer to help someone with their chore. Donate something. Give the tired cashier a genuine smile. Give a warm hug to someone who needs it. And hopefully you would feel a lot better too 💜