By Celenise Mahmood, CWC
With the holiday season quickly approaching, its a great time to give back to others. Every year my family and I raise funds to support the Sickle Cell Thalassemia Patient Network as a way to raise awareness and to honor my son Navid's journey. Over the past 5 years my family and I have raised $10,000 to support this cause that is close to heart for us. This year as I grieve the loss of my mother in law, I've dedicated one day a month to give back. This has helped me tremendously with dealing with grief by fostering feelings of happiness and reducing stress. Whether you are donating time or funds, giving back to others and engaging in acts of kindness can have numerous positive effects on your overall wellness. Here are 13 ways in which giving back is good for your well-being:
1. **Increased Happiness**: Acts of kindness and generosity can trigger the release of feel-good hormones such as oxytocin and serotonin, leading to increased feelings of happiness and well-being.
2. **Reduced Stress**: Engaging in acts of kindness can help reduce stress levels. When you focus on helping others, it takes your mind off your own worries and problems.
3. **Enhanced Social Connections**: Giving back often involves interacting with others and building meaningful connections. This can combat feelings of loneliness and provide a sense of belonging.
4. **Improved Mental Health**: Regular acts of kindness have been linked to reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. It can give individuals a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
5. **Boosted Self-Esteem**: Helping others can boost your self-esteem and self-worth. Knowing that you've made a positive impact on someone's life can make you feel good about yourself.
6. **Increased Gratitude**: When you give back, you gain a deeper appreciation for the things you have. This sense of gratitude can lead to greater life satisfaction.
7. **Sense of Purpose**: Helping others can provide a sense of purpose and direction in life. It gives you a reason to get up in the morning and can be particularly beneficial for retirees or those going through major life changes.
8. **Physical Health Benefits**: Some studies suggest that acts of kindness can have positive effects on physical health, such as lowering blood pressure and boosting the immune system.
9. **Enhanced Perspective**: Giving back can help you gain a broader perspective on life, appreciating the challenges and struggles of others. This can lead to greater empathy and compassion.
10. **Longevity**: Some research indicates that individuals who engage in acts of kindness may live longer and have a higher quality of life.
11. **Stress Reduction**: Engaging in acts of kindness can trigger the relaxation response, reducing the harmful effects of stress on the body.
12. **Sense of Fulfillment**: Helping others can provide a deep sense of fulfillment and accomplishment, contributing to a more meaningful life.
13. **Altruistic Joy**: The act of giving back often leads to what's known as "altruistic joy" or the joy that comes from helping others without expecting anything in return.
In summary, giving back and engaging in acts of kindness can positively impact your emotional, mental, and physical well-being. It not only benefits those you help but also has a profound effect on your own happiness and sense of purpose.