Sometimes we can all can lose sight of the fact that we have something to offer. Doing things for other people helps us feel connected and has beneficial effects on developing our own wellbeing. It can create an opportunity to build new relationships or improve our existing ones.
Research in neuroscience shows that helping others and working cooperatively activates and strengthens certain parts of the brain thus enhancing wellbeing. A recent study in 2016 published in Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine suggested that on a neurobiological level, giving social support to others may benefit the giver more than the receiver. In other words, this study pinpointed benefits of helping ourselves through helping others.
- Volunteer for a cause that is meaningful to you
- Send a ‘Thank You’ note to a work colleague who is always supportive
- Help out at your child’s school or sporting event
- Check in with a new work colleague and make them feel welcome
- Offer to help an elderly neighbour
- Send a surprise package to an old friend
- Send flowers as a ‘Thinking Of You’ to a family member who you don’t see often
- Give some of your clothes that you no longer use to a charity organisation
- Make time to listen to a work colleague you know who is having a hard time
In helping others, we need to take time to notice the conscious choice that we make to offer assistance and consider how this fits in with the kind of person we are or want to be. In putting this into practice it is important to take care of ourselves, to check that we are not doing this out of duty or continuing a habit of always putting others first.