Giving, kindness and your wellbeing...
We are in the season of good will. People love to receive gifts but science shows that we love to give them even more.
We often presume our wellbeing equates to what we have; our job, bank balance, income, home car or some other have. But science shows that what we do and how we think has the biggest impact on our mental wellbeing. It determines how we feel. Sharing and giving makes us feel good about ourselves. Anything from small acts of kindness to volunteering to gifting or helping a friend or neighbour in need can enhance your self-esteem, sense of purpose and feelings of connectivity to others.
Positive mental wellbeing means feeling good about yourself and your life. Helping and supporting others is really good for that.
'We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give'. Winston Churchill
Or as Jesus said: 'It is in the giving that we receive'.
There are lots of ways in which we can 'give'. Some of it costs money. But it doesn't have to. Some of the best gifts involve being thoughtful and kind or simply listening and responding. When people feel heard, that feels so good.
Empower people to solve their problems. Mentor someone. Giving someone anything that will make their day or life easier or better is great. Helping someone love and accept themselves is the ultimate gift.
In pandemic times, while we cannot always help others in the same way as before, here are other things you can do:
Reach out to someone you haven't met in a while - you never know who is lonely. I met an old friend last week that I expected to have lots of support and he was lonely. He is happily married and before COVID had a busy life but he felt isolated.
Help someone to get set up on line so they have greater connectivity.
Go shopping for someone
Help someone with a DIY project or housework
Volunteer for a charity
Help someone in a work project
Give someone a book, magazine or send them a link to something useful or fun
Drop someone a care package or meet up with them
Tell someone how much you appreciate them
Be kind and appreciative in your interactions
Give someone flowers or a small gift out of the blue
Send a kind thank you note or text
There are many ways of being kind - when you are present - you will find them easily in the moment.
People who are kind also experience benefits to their longevity. Kindness reduces stress and improves your emotional wellbeing. While many of us have new competing stresses in our lives because of COVID, helping others gives us perspective, grounding and lasting good feelings.
As well as bringing emotional dividends to you, your kindness can make a big difference to others - especially for people who are vulnerable or struggling.
There are so many ways we can help others as part of our daily lives. As well as them it makes us feel good. Studies have shown that it promotes positive changes in our brain - wiring us to be generally more pro-active, happy and thoughtful. It also adds to our sense of belonging protecting us from loneliness.
We can be kind and helpful everywhere - in all of our relationships, online, on the phone, at work, at home and in our community. Go for it and enjoy.