In our fast-paced, demanding world, we’re constantly in search of ways to activate our “happy hormones” and feel good. That might mean anything from an intense workout, to indulging in our skin care routine, or harnessing the power of essential oils to balance our emotions. But one of the most powerful ways to feel good involves focusing on others rather than ourselves…
From the instant endorphin hit ‘helper’s high’, to decreased stress and enhanced feelings of self-esteem, research shows that doing good for others can benefit our emotional wellbeing – and may even impact our physical health and longevity!
Doing good can come in many shapes and sizes. It doesn’t have to mean giving a lot of time or money to a big charity or NGO. On the contrary, it can be any altruistic act where you go out of your way to do something to benefit someone else and - without question - the simplest human interactions can offer the greatest personal reward.
Adesh and Elisabeth are busy professionals who both invest a little personal time to do something for others and get a great feel-good return on their investment!
Elisabeth – fitness instructor - “they’re like my personal trainer!”
Every Saturday, Elisabeth runs a voluntary interval training class at a gym near her home. “It’s just one hour every Saturday morning but it really is one of the highlights of my week. I work out a lot but this is by far the best workout of my week. There’s an incredible energy, everyone who attends is 100% engaged and I really have to give my all. It’s almost like a meditation for me – a total escape where I invest myself completely and I leave the gym feeling totally energised and happy.”
Adesh – mentor – “I want them to know I was them once”
Adesh regularly gives his time to inspire schoolkids in rural India through video calls. “I have friends who teach in rural towns and it’s not easy – education is often under-resourced by the state and under-prioritised by families. These kids need all the help they can get to see a future beyond rural life. By sharing my own personal story, I hope I can inspire them to dream big and work hard to achieve their dreams! I say ‘look at me – I was just like you once!’ – it’s a very personal mission for me, and it feels good.”
Good deeds (every) day
At the end of the day, the best do-good-feel-good need not take much time or cost anything: it can be any small act of kindness in our own communities. Try a few of these good deeds and see how good it feels!
- Help someone cross the road
- Check in on a neighbour who lives alone
- Cook something delicious for a friend
- Send a ‘thank you’ card to someone who least expects it
- Hold the door for someone
- Take a CPR course
- Donate blood
- Console a friend
- Compliment a stranger
- Leave kind notes for strangers on the train
Look out for those little opportunities to be kind – you might make someone's day – and you’ll almost certainly make your own.