Do something nice for someone else. This may sound very basic, and in reality it is. Doing something nice for others is part of how we’re wired. In fact, research shows that helping others is actually good for our own health and wellbeing. The Mental Health Foundation says that putting others needs before your own offers the following health benefits:
- Helping others feels good. “It promotes positive physiological changes in the brain associated with happiness.”
- It brings a sense of belonging and reduces isolation. “Face-to-face activities such as volunteering can help reduce loneliness and isolation.”
- It helps to keep things in perspective. “Helping others in need, especially those who are less fortunate than yourself, can provide a real sense of perspective.. helping you to achieve a more positive outlook on the things that may be causing you stress.”
- The more you do for others, the more you do for yourself. “Evidence shows that the benefits of helping others can last long after the act itself by providing a ‘kindness bank’ of memories that can be drawn upon in the future.
- It reduces stress. “Positive emotions reduce stress and boost our immune system, and in turn can protect us against disease.”
Besides all of this, doing things for someone else just makes us better people, so try to do one thing each day. It can be big or small. If you do something for someone in your family, try to make it something different than what you would usually do. Let’s face it, as parents, we’re constantly doing nice things for our children, and that’s wonderful, but try to stretch yourself. If it is for someone in your family, do something unexpected. If it’s for someone you don’t know, the sky is the limit. Be creative and keep it simple or be elaborate. It also doesn’t have to cost anything but your effort. As long as you’re giving of yourself, you and they will reap the benefits.
For more on why doing something nice for someone else is so important and some ways that you can do it, visit The Mental Health Foundation.