Helper’s high is the term used to describe the euphoric feeling we experience when we give to others. This is the season to open our hearts, time and money. As we shift from focusing on our own troubled and busy lives, we turn from the shadows of daily life and open our hearts to the magnificent light and love possible this month.
The Health Benefits of Helper’s High
Research tells us that generous people enjoy a longer life than those who are self-centered. These helper’s high feelings may lower the production of stress hormones which improves your cardiovascular health and strengthens your immune system. A recent study of older adults showed those who regularly volunteered over the course of five years were half as likely to die prematurely.
Dr. Stephen Post’s research shows that giving of ourselves increases life satisfaction, self-realization, and good fortune. Altruism significantly improves physical and mental health and happiness, as well as decreases depression.
Increase Your Enjoyment of Life Through Helping Others
- Time. Volunteer with an organization you love. You will feel good, get healthier, make new friends and transform other people’s lives. Have your children be involved in choosing where you will volunteer so they will own the experience, learn about life and appreciate their own life more. Begin volunteer groups at work or in your community.
- Money. Create a giving budget. It is an important lesson for your children to learn to give to others by your example. Not just dropping $5 into the Salvation Army bucket, but choosing a charity and the entire family take the money to the organization and allow them firsthand experience with giving.
- Compliments. Words are very powerful. Especially during this holy season look into other’s eyes and give them a compliment. “Thank you for opening this door, what a lovely coat, you are a very good person,” are a few compliments. There is a man who stands on a street corner in Washington DC known as “The Compliment Man,” who is very beloved. As the people rush by in a flurry, he gently smiles and gives every person passing a compliment and it is priceless to experience the love he inspires in others.
- Kindness. The essence of this holiday season is kindness. Don’t allow long lines, massive traffic, tight money, and exhausting travel to distract you from the reason for this season. We are to be kind to each other. Open a door for someone, say thank you, help someone who drops something or help someone with directions. Teaching your children this virtue is an investment in their moral character for a lifetime.