A Goal of Becoming More Optimistic Through Helping Others
By Tamara Martfeld
I recently read an article which pointed to research which showed that when one helps another person, the giver also benefits by feeling more optimistic and better about life in general. I then got the idea for a New Year’s Goal of Becoming More Optimistic Through Helping Others.
Regardless of the research, I know that I feel better when I help others. That is one reason for my web site. Helping others is easy, and it is great that every time one person is helped, a side effect is that the helper is also helped.
There are many easy ways to help people. Help can be as easy as holding a door for the person behind you, letting the car out of a parking lot, or putting a silly smile on your face as you see someone walking toward you. I can give one person at my office the giggles simply by giving her a toothy grin. Obviously, helping others need not involve giving money or goods to others. Anyone can help others with very little effort. Small random acts of kindness can spread the joy and help you as well.
Even though money or goods do not need to be involved, they are another option for helping others if these resources exist. If you have anything which is no longer used, giving it to an individual or charity instead of selling it is a way to help others. This can benefit you twice: you get the good feeling from helping someone, and you get rid of clutter in your life. A twist on this concept is to purchase something you know someone likes, wants, or needs and give it to the individual. It is fun to do this last act by sneaking the item into a place it will be found and not being caught!
Of course, there is always money that can be used for helping others. Obviously, donations to charity will help whoever the charity supports. Even donations to charities which help animals are included here because those working at the charities are uplifted when they get donations to support their efforts. Then there are the random acts of kindness we have all heard about such as paying the bill for the person behind you or picking up the tab for another person in a restaurant. One you may not have heard of is what I call a Ben Franklin Loan. According to something I read years ago, Ben Franklin would lend money to people who needed it with instruction to the person to pay it back by lending it to someone else at a later time. It is possible that one of his loans is still making the rounds. You can give a Ben Franklin Loan to someone you know is in need. Since it is a loan, it is not charity to the individual, and since it is to be paid to an unknown person in the future, there is no timeline on a debt for the individual to worry about. If you can pull it off anonymously, the individual cannot refuse it.
Now that you have some ideas on how to help others, how about making that one of your New Year’s Goals? You can set a goal for helping one person per day, week, or month. Picking per day or per week can also help you build your creative ability as you look for alternate ways to achieve your goal. It is a fun and easily achievable goal with multiple benefits.
Whatever goals you set for the year, I wish you lots of success and happiness through the next year.
Happy New Year!