I’ve mentioned more than once that it’s a good idea to end relationships that aren’t running smoothly or causing you more harm than good, but I’m going to guess that a lot of people in your life are friends and family that you really care about.
Most of us are so busy that we communicate with our friends and family online, with text messages and on the phone if we’re lucky. I’m busy, too—all the time management posts I’ve done probably clued you in on that—but in the spirit of Thanksgiving, which is next Thursday here in the U.S., I’d like to discuss the topic of helping others. Research has shown that helping others can make a difference in your own life and I definitely believe it.
Easy Ways You Can Help Others
While I was traveling through Europe, I met a lot of people. Taking trains across different countries and staying in hostels pretty much forces you to get to know others, whether you want to or not. You might be surprised to know that most people out there really do seem like “good folks.” Sure, some people try to take advantage of others, always asking for favors and trying to “take what they can get.” Others are the opposite—they’re always trying to do more and help more. Become one of those people for a few hours.
Helping others really can make a difference in your own life. Here are a few easy ideas:
- Spend some time with one of your elderly relatives or neighbors. Help them clean up around the house or take them to the grocery store. Just sitting with them and talking is a winner, too, because sometimes the smallest acts mean the most.
- Teach a friend or relative about computers or the internet: how to start a blog, how to upload photos to a drugstore’s website so they can be printed out, how to use an iPod and add music to iTunes. It’s probably stuff you write about on your own blog anyway, so talking about it instead of writing about it will help you learn how to explain things verbally.
- Volunteer for an hour or two a week. Find a charity that you support like Habitat for Humanity or the Salvation Army, or just head down to the library and shelve books for awhile! Whatever you wind up doing, it will be helping someone in one way or another.
- When you go to Starbucks or a fast food restaurant, pay for the drink or food of the person in line behind you. That extra five bucks you tossed down will make their day and won’t be missed much from your wallet.
- Donate clothes you no longer wear or other things that you’re no longer using. I got rid of a lot of my belongings when I left for my trip and I’ve got to admit I haven’t missed them. Someone out there will benefit from the stuff you don’t need any more.
Psychological studies have found helping others can make a difference in terms of stress management and feelings of compassion. I definitely believe it. We’re all busy living our own lives, but every now and then, take a break for a bit and help someone out. You’ll be glad you did!Take Action. Get Results.