Tis the season for the expression of gratitude, for community, for caring, for giving back. It’s good for us too; there are studies that show that giving back is good for mental health— good for our spirit.
Giving back/ giving to others is also giving back to ourselves. A study from Northwestern, found that people who have a purpose in life have many benefits: better sleep, better mental health, better physical health, and longevity.
Of these studies, researchers reported the following:
Acts of kindness for others can boost mood.
When giving back to the environment by way of volunteering, it reduces depressive symptoms.
Giving back was linked to lower blood pressure.
Longevity; older adults who volunteered were at lower risk for mortality.
Teenagers that volunteered reported boosts in altruism, and had the greatest decreases in cardiovascular risk over time.
There are many ways to give back this season; consider these 5 options:
1. Listen; Lend Your Ear to Someone in Need
Many times, all someone needs is an ear. We can help people in so many ways if we simply listen. We may not have the solution, yet we may know someone that can help. Let’s say the person in need requires a job to provide for their family. You may not have a job to offer them; however, your brother owns a local business and needs part-time help. Your listening may lead to an introduction that may turn into a job offer, all because you listened.
2. Spend Time with Family and Friends
We all get busy, we all lose track of time, and we all have loved ones that miss us. A great way to give back and show love is to show up. A simple dinner and/or cookout is all that’s needed to stir up a pot of love. Love is always a plus for mental health.
3. Donate Your Time and/or Things
Giving back doesn’t have to be in the form of money. Volunteering your time is just as valuable. Consider volunteering at a local food bank, shelter, or retirement home. Additionally, most of us have things that we don’t need and can be useful to someone else. It may just get them up on their feet.
4. Animals Need Love Too
Animals, like humans, can be in need. We usually do a better job of thinking about humans during these times, and not so much animals. Spending time with animals at an animal shelter or animal clinic can be a great way to give back. Imagine the sounds of gratitude coming from pets that are waiting for a home.
5.Extend an Invitation to Your Holiday Dinner Party/Gathering
Generally, people don’t want to spend the holidays alone. Inviting someone over for dinner can be such a grand gesture for someone that doesn’t have any loved ones around. Many times, we think that money and things are necessary; however, there is someone in your social environment that simply needs warmth, laughter, and community.
About Travis Etheridge
Travis, the co-owner of The Insurance Alliance, joined the insurance industry in 2011. He is married to his lovely wife Anica, and has an amazing son Henry. Travis is passionate about helping people, so the insurance industry is a natural fit. The thing he loves most about the industry is being there for his clients at their most trying times. He believes everyone is an individual and they deserve an individual plan best suited for their situation.