The benefits of doing stuff for others

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World Kindness Day is just around the corner so here at everydayhero we thought we would take a look into why when we look beyond ourselves and work together as global citizens we feel better!

We all love that warm fuzzy feeling we get when we do something nice for someone else, but what is it and why could it be doing us even more good than we imagine?

Believe it or not there is actual science behind how happy helping others can make you feel. Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of California says “People who engage in kind acts become happier over time”. Lyubomirsky has been studying happiness for over 20 years and her research discovered that for optimal happiness you need to perform a positive action once a week, which we think is pretty manageable.

Being kind to others can even help us live longer! Researcher Stephen Post found that if we start our kindness when we are young, everything from self realization and physical health all improve. “Mortality is delayed, depression is reduced and well-being and good fortune are increased.” Another study found that seniors who “gave 100 hours or more annually were 28 percent less likely to die from any cause than their less-philanthropic counterparts.”

All of this is great news, and there is still more! If you’re a socially anxious person then a simple of act of kindness can actually make you feel heaps better. The study carried out by the University of British Columbia involved individuals with high levels of anxiety being given the task of doing kind acts for other people at least 6 times a week. The acts could be anything from buying lunch for a friend or even donating to charity and the results were pretty fantastic. The study found that doing “nice things for people led to a significant increase in people’s positive moods. It also led to an increase in relationship satisfaction and a decrease in social avoidance.”

Maybe you are thinking, all this ‘being kind to other people’ seems like a lot of hard work but it doesn’t have to be. A little bit of persistence can go a long way, you just need to make the agreement with yourself to keep trying.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead is famous for her quote “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

So start small if you have to, give up your seat on the train, buy the stranger behind you in the coffee shop their drink, call up your mum just because – then get bigger and bolder!

We here at everydayhero believe that everyone has it within themselves to make the world a better place – one person CAN change the world and it starts with you.

What can I do?

  1. If you have a birthday coming up (or with Christmas just around the corner) set up a fundraising page for a cause you care about and ask for donations instead of gifts from your friends. You can create your page here.
  2. Decide upon an amount you would like to donate to a charity then hop onto everydayhero and choose one of the thousands of charities to donate it to. It could be a random charity or one you already have an affiliation to but just imagine how great it will make you feel to help them with the awesome work they do?
  3. Find your local suspended coffee shop and join in!
  4. Contact your local charity and offer up your time, volunteering not only will help out the charity but also give you your daily boost of ‘feel good factor’.

The important thing with all of these activities is that you do it regularly, make it a part of your every day life and start feeling better today!

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