It’s human nature to feel better when we help other people. And when we help others, we feel more connected to them, to the greater world and to the universe as a whole in positive ways.
Whatever your talent is, if you can find a way to use it to give someone else a lift, do that and you’ll see the benefits. I find that I feel great when I can try to give people outlets, in whatever creative ways they can relate to, whether it be through a writing class, a crafting workshop, painting, music, enjoying new hobbies or learning new things. Helping people find ways to relax and be “less stressed” in pressured lives makes me feel good. When assessing later on, my own perspective has also been uplifted.
One of my talents is writing and another is teaching. It’s important to celebrate what is going well and to spend some time in “the good, grateful places of our lives.” In trying to help people find an outlet, it allows them to spend time outside whatever pain or difficult situation or work stress or child growing up/parenting issue is going on in their lives.
I have focused on teaching different writing, crafting and personal growth workshops. The journaling class I’ve been teaching recently for people with chronic pain is an outlet and a non-medical healing technique that can be an adjunct to participant’s medical care, but it has opened my heart and helps me as well.
Helping people learn to express and release things in a way where they can find new ways to look at the chronic pain situation or what is going on for them in their own mind, is a gift for them and for me. I learn self-compassion and I learn how to help others find something that gives them a small “space” to explore their feelings and thoughts through creative writing and journaling. In the end though, I walk away with much more on this one than they do…or at least that’s what I think!
Giving to and helping others in whatever way works for you is one way towards increasing joy in life. It can help lead to a more meaningful experience, which can lead to happiness. In, “Is a Happy Life Different from a Meaningful One?” , Greater Good Science Center magazine contributors, Jason Marsh and Jill Suttie cite research that says giving to others (helping out, volunteering, etc.) helps people ascribe meaning to what they’re doing which, in turn, ups their happiness. People who have more meaning and happiness in their lives tend to live longer and healthier lives.
My own parents started me volunteering, doing acts of charity and loving kindness when I was a very little kid. Many parents and guardians help their children to do this.
Years ago, I gave a public speech about being in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Kiribati and there was a video made of it. And the part that stands out to me and I remember most about what I said about my two years of volunteer service was that, “in the end, I don’t know if anything I did there [Kiribati,] any of the wells we built or the latrines that were dug and made or the work we did together on hygiene and well-baby care, etc. made any difference. But I do know that those people are in my heart…and I think that I’m in theirs.”
I would really love to hear from you on your ideas about how giving to others, volunteering and helping people help themselves helps YOU find meaning and happiness. Email [email protected]