The Mental and Physical Benefits of Giving to Others
Helping Others Reduces Stress Leading To A Longer Life
When is the last time you actually took a few minutes to give a helping hand to someone in need? I'm talking about charitable acts of kindness with no thought of what you might receive in return.
Are you so caught up in the days activities and projects you rarely think about giving to others? Let's not get so caught up with the business of living that we forget about others who may be ill, depressed or lonely.
Maybe a neighbor could use a trip to the market or perhaps a shut-in would appreciate dinner brought in. It doesn't take much to make an extra helping of homemade cookies, freeze them for a later time when you want to take someone a treat..
I realize that your mornings fly by and before you know it, lunchtime has arrived. Not long after lunch it's time to prepare dinner. And then bedtime comes and wearily you drop off into a nice deep sleep. Or, maybe you're one of the gazillion people who can't sleep.
Insomnia takes its toll after a time and can shorten your life span. And we know how stress can bring on a heart attack. But what if I told you that there is a way you can actually live longer and really enjoy a wonderful, full life?
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
Give To Live
I coined the phrase 'Give to Live,' after researching the mental and physical benefits of giving to others. I've learned that those that give actually live up to 5 years longer than those who do not give to others.
And besides this benefit, just think about how you - yes, you, will leave this world a better place. You actually cause a change for the better each time you help someone else. All you have to do is alter your behavior.
Doing kind deeds for others is something that I grew up with. It wasn't anything special, it was a way of life.
We were taught at a very young age how to bring a smile to the faces of older folks who were tucked away in 'homes' - alone and forgotten. My little brother, sister and I would spend an entire afternoon every single week singing to the elderly. I will never forget how over-joyed these older seniors were with a visit and a song.
Memories of my mother visiting the sick, sitting with them day in and day out, are still vivid in my mind. Rain or shine, tired or hungry, she could be depended upon to lift the burden and pain others carried.
It takes so little to make a difference in the life of those who are lonely and hunger for companionship. And actually, we are the ones who though know thought of a reward walk away feeling a sense of joy and blessed with energy to spare.
14 Ways to Give to Others
When you give to others, you experience true joy because you focus on someone else and not yourself. But I really began to understand how giving makes good things happen when I carefully read through the book "Why Good Things Happen To Good People."
Of course we don't go about the business of looking for a reward when we give. Still it's mighty nice to know we are rewarded in a variety of ways we never suspect. Good things really do happen to good people. Being a good person means being aware, honing your skills in patience, unselfishness, perception and compassion.
I came up with these 14 ways to give to others. Feel free to add your own thoughts to this list:
- Give someone who needs a hug a nice warm hug and put some energy into it..
- Call an old friend that you have neglected. Let them know you still care and think of them.
- Share your dinner with someone who is ill or lives alone.
- Make cookies for those who are sad. Leave these on the doorstep wrapped with love.
- Mow the lawn for the elderly. My son did this regularly without payment.
- Send a friendly card for any reason. A nice reminder which makes a soft connection.
- Send a thank you letter to someone you appreciate.
- Offer to babysit. Young couples really need some time to themselves.
- Help someone pack for a move. Bring along a happy attitude.
- Tell someone you love them. You don't need a reason. Just do it!
- Give a person a ride to the doctor. The elderly often need transportation but rarely ask.
- Give flowers. Nothing quite lights up someone's day like a few lovely flowers.
- Volunteer and donate your time. You say you don't have time? Make time.
- Allow a car to go in front of you on the highway. What's the big deal anyhow?
Don't forget about children, teens and young adults. Include them too. And don't be afraid to reach out to other people. Sometimes they will let you know if help is needed. But this isn't always the case. You may have to offer right up front.
Enjoy those 'feel-good' endorphins as you help other people.
Make a Firm Commitment to Help One Person Each Month
There are endless ways to give to others. Sometimes, just being a good listener is the best gift you can give. Good listeners aren't easy to come by. Sharpen up your listening skills and do your best to be there for someone who really needs you.
Giving doesn't have to cost anything but a few minutes of your time. With 24 hours in each day, 7 days in every week, surely you can find some time to set aside and help at least one person or group every month.
Call your local rest homes for seniors and care facilities to schedule a visit. Enquire before you go as to who might need your visit the most. I know when my time comes to'pass over I sure wouldn't want to be all alone.
The other person will love your short visit and afterward so will you. You'll feel good inside.
If you are at a loss for words when visiting a person for the first time here are a few suggestions:
- Ask about their family. We all like to talk about family members. How many children and what are their names? Where do they live? Ask about the spouse even if they are gone.
- Ask where they were born. How has the world advanced? Allow them to talk about their childhood.
- What is their favorite food? Maybe you could get a delicious recipe from the individual.
- Do they have a favorite song? If you know the song sing it with them.
- Offer to read them poetry or a story. Make it short.
What Did I Give at the End of the Day
As this day comes to an end ~
Did I remember to call a friend
Touch someone’s heart to help it mend
And have I helped someone in need
Or planted laughter as a seed
Did I approach someone brand new
To tell them they improve the view
And what of the elderly all alone
Did I give flowers to brighten their home
Did I lend a listening ear
Or wipe away a budding tear
As I travel down the road
Did I stop to lighten a load
Did I forgive all those who lied
And put away my foolish pride
Lessons to learn along life's way
What did I give at the end of the day
Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.
In Closing ~
It is my hope that this hub, The Mental And Physical Benefits Of Giving To Others will inspire and motivate all who read it. Most of us are seeking ways to increase our longevity. We all want a sharp brain and a healthy, stronger body. As we give to others, we give to our own mind and body.
The list that I've provided for ways to give is by no means complete. I wouldn't want it to be. You are capable and creative enough to find your own unique ways of giving. And sometimes a giving opportunity will find you when you least expect it. Make kindness a daily mental state in all you do. Find it in every thought and in every action. Mother Teresa did.
If at times you find yourself feeling low in the self-esteem department I promise you if you'll spend time giving to others your level of self-esteem will increase leaps and bounds. The act of giving releases endorphins, your body's natural opiates, which causes you to feel good.
Now may be the perfect time to develop the habit of giving to others. Not only will your mind and body benefit from giving but because a longer and happier life awaits you.
Is Giving To Others Part of Your Life?
How Often Do You Seek Opportunities To Give To Others?
© 2011 Audrey Hunt