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It is well documented that helping others is a powerful way to boost our personal happiness. Not only as a quick, fleeting sensation, but also as a lasting mark on our own wellbeing.

Why?

Helping is giving.

Giving increases life satisfaction, provides a sense of meaning, increases feelings of competence, improves your mood and reduces stress. Perhaps even more powerful, it can help to take our minds off our own troubles.

Giving to others helps us connect with people, thus fulfilling one of our basic human needs.

Who can you help?

How about a total stranger, family, friends, colleagues, a neighbor. Anyone near or far. Open your eyes and your heart and find a way to give.

What can you give?

When we think about giving, for some reason we think about material goods, which of course can be of benefit to others. But when that is not possible or needed, other ways of giving could be even more meaningful.

Giving time, care, skills, thought or attention. Giving an impromptu telephone call, a smile, a quick note. It can be an invitation to share tea or dinner or even a heartfelt “How are you?” to the shop attendant.

Kindness and caring to others also seem to be contagious! When we give and receive, it inspires us to be kinder to ourselves. And inspires others to be kind as well.

Every act of encouragement and kindness can have a profound effect on someone else’s day. The ripple effect that you are initiating is endless.

If you want to be happier and feel good… Do good.

Written by Monica Kerik