Why Does Helping Others Feel So Good?
Your schedule is probably something like mine. You have obligations at home and work, and you’re probably very busy most days. Your Must Do list often keeps you so occupied that you rarely have time for your Fun Things To Do list. (At least that’s what I think it should be called.)
With all of that going on why do we still gladly say “Yes” when we receive a phone call or email asking us to help out at our church or synagogue, child’s school, or favorite charitable organization?
Think about when you last volunteered to help out at a charitable event. I’ll bet that at the end of the day you might have felt tired, but that you felt good about yourself and forgot about your own problems for a little while. As humans, we are wired to feel satisfaction when helping others. According to Psychology Today, we feel good when we give because we get what researchers call a “helpers high.”
The Mental Health Foundation of the UK explains some of the benefits of helping others in their booklet Good Does You Good. They say that evidence shows that helping others can have a positive effect on your own mental health and well being. It can improve your mood, self-esteem and happiness. Among their reasons for giving your time are these:
- It reduces stress. Positive emotions reduce stress, boost our immune system, and in turn can protect us against disease.
- It helps get rid of negative feelings. Negative emotions such as anger, aggression or hostility have a negative impact on our mind and body. Engaging in random acts of kindness can help decrease these feelings and stabilize our overall health.
- It can help us live longer. Giving and helping others may increase how long we live.
Remember those points the next time you get a call on a busy day to volunteer your time. Don’t let your busy schedule make you forget how good you’ll feel after you spend your time helping someone else. They’ll be happier, you’ll be happier and healthier, and the world will be a little better for it.