Each time you do a good deed for someone else, it makes the world a little bit happier. But did you know that it can also make you happier?
It’s true: Studies show that when you do a good deed, you experience what’s called a “helper’s high.” You actually get a little shot of feel-good biochemicals, just like you would from eating a piece of cake—but without all those carbs! In addition, you lower your levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
What’s more, altruism makes you healthier. People who do volunteer work live longer (even after factoring in things like smoking and social support) and have fewer aches and pains. So if you want to bring a little more joy into your life, spread some happiness around to others. Here are some simple ways to do it:
• Offer to babysit or pick up groceries for a harried mom.
• If your partner or roommate is overworked, offer to take over his or her chores for a week.
• If a restaurant server does a great job, leave double your usual tip and write a note saying, “Thank you for making our meal so enjoyable.”
• Go out of your way to be nice to someone you don’t like. (You may discover, to your surprise, that the person is nicer than you think!)
• Offer to be a designated driver at a party.
• Volunteer to spend time with nursing home patients.
• Compliment a coworker for a job well done—and if possible, do it in front of the coworker’s boss.
• Take a box of canned food to your local food bank. Check online first to see what types of food they need most.
• Sign up for a charity walk or run.
• Pick up someone’s dry cleaning for them.
• Surprise a friend with a bouquet of flowers.
• Donate dog or cat food to an animal shelter or rescue group.
• Volunteer for an extra car-pool shift.
• Offer to drive an elderly neighbor to a doctor’s appointment.
• Take your change to a Coinstar kiosk and donate it to charity.
Most of these altruistic acts take only minutes and cost just a few dollars. Better yet, they’ll brighten someone’s day—and make your own day happier as well. How’s that for a win-win situation?
Keep Thinking Big & Living Bold!