Think of a diamond. Diamonds do not shine. They are not a source of light. Diamonds sparkle. They take in light and, instead of absorbing it, reflect it in every direction.
We are all surrounded by “light.” Generosity, positivity, happiness, kindness, gratitude. When we’re helping others, we’re like sparkling diamonds reflecting light on all those that surround us.
Benefits of Helping Others
Helping others helps you. It’s true! Scientific research backs up altruism. Here are some of the benefits of helping others:
Helping others is good for our health
Kinder people actually live longer, healthier lives. The Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley lists lower blood pressure, fewer aches & pains, and better overall physical health as possible benefits of altruism.
Helping others is good for our love lives
Helping others fights addiction
New research suggests that helping others fight their addictions can help you stay sober. Stephen Post, the author of “The Hidden Gifts of Helping,” says, “When you are involved in helping others, it blocks off destructive emotions and impulses. You can’t be ruminating or feel hostile and bitter if you’re feeling moved by helping someone else.”
Helping others promotes social connections
Kind acts like volunteering and charitable giving create a sense of belonging to a group and a feeling a closeness to those that you’re serving. Scientific evidence strongly suggests that social connection is a core psychological need. We need it for well-being and life satisfaction.
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Helping others makes us happy
This is my favorite reason to help others. Ultimately, we all just want to be happy. One of my favorite quotes is from Mahatma Gandi. He said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Charitable acts promote a sense of euphoria that psychologists refer to as the “Helper’s High.” Research demonstrates that charitable giving and altruistic actions activate the same part of the brain as receiving rewards or experiencing pleasure. Indeed, happiness is helping others.
How to “Sparkle”
You don’t have to give up your paychecks to charity or your weekends to volunteer to benefit from benevolence. Start small. In your own home, perhaps. Here are some simple ideas:
- Write a thank-you note — with an actual pen and paper.
- Call a friend or family member for no other reason than to chat.
- When you want to make a snide or snarky comment, smile instead.
- Allow someone else to be “right” even if they may be incorrect.
- Be gracious and say thank you to those that hold thankless jobs: janitors, garbage collectors, postal workers, etc.
- Be deliberate and quick to provide a helping hand.
- Make eye contact and smile at those you pass throughout the day. Venture to say hello.
- Uplift and encourage those in your community, especially those fighting battles that you’ve fought.
I can’t help but smile as I write this article. Has it helped you? Have I made you smile? Pass it on! Spread the sparkle!