Helping Others is The Key to Happiness

You know that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you’ve done something good for another person? Turns out it’s a chemical reaction in the brain, caused by helping others. Doing something kind activates the reward centres of our brains, making us feel good and encouraging us to continue with this behaviour.

Research conducted by academics at Yale and the London School of Economics proves that when we help others, we also help ourselves. Doing things for others generates feelings of well-being within most of us. This is why people who have a higher tendency towards helping others are better able to respond to daily stresses. The study essentially suggests that making an effort to do things for others can help us cope better with everyday problems and negative emotions.

Human beings are genetically hardwired to seek social connection and “warmth”; one of the ways to achieve this is by helping others. Among other things, helping others gives us happiness and mental stimulation, beats depression and stress, and provides us with a sense of purpose. Not only that, by helping others in their times of need we also positively impact our own sense of empowerment and resilience. There is, of course, the added impetus that by being kind and helpful to someone, we could in turn inspire them to pay it forward when the opportunity arises.

One doesn’t need to be rich and powerful to go about helping others. We can all do this in many small ways:

1. Volunteer – We can give our time to a cause or organisation that needs it. If we select something that fits our own passions and ideas, we can identify better with their purpose.
2. Donate – Small amounts are often all it takes to help out a charity. Special occasions like a birthday are great to set up a regular donation. There is something immensely satisfying in the knowledge that the money we donated instead of spending on ourselves is helping others rebuild their lives.
3. Be kind – Everywhere around us, people are struggling with something or the other. A kind word or a friendly gesture may seem insignificant to us, but might make somebody’s day.

Being kind and helping others takes nothing

These are just three ways of helping others out in times of need or in day to day life. The “how” is not as important here as the “why”. Different people can take different approaches.

Hope you will now agree with me that helping others find happiness is really the key to our own happiness. At the end of the day, what is the point of life if we are not doing anything for the others that walk this earth with us?

I’d love to know your thoughts on this. Feel free to comment here, or reach out on Twitterย 

 

Pictures courtesy Unsplash

4 thoughts on “Helping Others is The Key to Happiness”

  1. I wholeheartedly agree! The feeling of helping others is incomparable. If only everyone were focused on paying it forward the world would be a much happier place! To a happier tomorrow <3

  2. I agree with you, Neha. But, I’d share something with you here. I am always kind, however, I will admit that I dont donate, not coz I don’t want to, but coz today it gets really difficult to know if the cause is genuine or no. Yet, me n hubby have fixed two days in a year (kid’s birthday n his nanaji’s death anniversary) to contribute as charity. We even celebrated our daughter’s 1st birthday in an underprivileged school in the simplest way.
    So, I think the world today has become so fake that most people like me are skeptical and even scared of helping someone in need.

    1. I understand Rashi. There are a lot of fakes out there trying to take advantage of people. The key lies in finding a cause or NGO that you can trust in. I’ve been donating to CRY and/or Giveindia and have faith in them. Giveindia even sent me some details of the girl children that my donation has helped. I think it’s wonderful of you to be practising charity like this.

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