How Supporting Others Benefits You

A Chinese saying goes:

“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”   

Think about the last time you helped or supported someone.  Do you remember that warm, fuzzy feeling you felt afterwards?  There is research to support the claim that altruism is hardwired into our brains.  Research into the brain has shown that supporting others rewards us with feelings of happiness.

Impact on US

Supporting others helps us to grow emotionally and psychologically.  We can form better connections with those around us as well as develop our skills and own sense of worth.  We have to keep in mind that supporting others should not be detrimental to us, either physically or mentally.

The temptation is to keep helping others no matter what.  If we overstretch ourselves by offering limitless time and energy, we become burned out, and then we are no help to ourselves, let alone others!  It’s important to maintain a balance.  The best way to do this is to be realistic about the amount of time you have to offer as well as what you are able to give. 

By Supporting Others, you support yourself!

Helping others doesn’t have to mean big gestures. It can sometimes be a challenge to find the best way to support someone but small gestures here, and there can make a huge difference to another person’s life. Think about your skills and interests.  What can you offer someone?  Are you a creative/handy type of person?  Maybe you could create a care package or make soaps or candles to help your stressed-out friend unwind.  Are you a great listener/problem solver?  Perhaps you could take the time out to meet up with a friend for a cup of coffee.  Give your friend the chance to vent and maybe offer some words of wisdom.  Using your strengths to help others can potentially develop your skill set and pursue your interests further.

When we support others, we are investing in our relationships.  We’re fostering stronger bonds and developing trust and emotional connections. Relationships are extremely important for our well-being.  Support doesn’t have to be in the form of gifts or gestures; it can come down to simply the way you communicate with others.  It means celebrating others’ successes as well as being there when the chips are down.  Think about the way you respond to another person’s good news. 

When they tell you about an exciting project they have completed or a promotion they may have received, is your instinct to remind them of all the pitfalls and downsides, or are you there to encourage and celebrate their achievements.  When your friend has fallen on hard times, do you make it a point of saying “told you so,” or are you there to help them get back on their feet again?

It feels good to help someone else.  By giving realistic amounts of time and effort into supporting others, we can give back to those in need as well as doing a power of good for ourselves.

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