By Leigh – Anne Peterson
RNR Wellness Editor
Doing Unto Others…
Why doing good deeds is good for you – and how good deeds can slowly change the world.
We all learned the golden rule somewhere around kindergarten.
“Treat others as you want to be treated.”
It’s a basic rule for civilized living, and in its simplicity, we find kindness and fairness.
What would happen if we all took this rule a little farther?
What if we did MORE for others than we expected ourselves.
It has been scientifically proven that doing good for other people is actually good for us. It decreases stress, makes us feel better both physically and mentally, boosts productivity in the workplace, and even increases our life expectancy. Most importantly, it just plain makes us happy.
People are social creatures. We like to belong. When we do something for someone else, we instantly become a bigger part of their world. We are a part of their happiness. We are a part of their wellbeing. We become a part of their story. We connect. And when we connect, we feel better ourselves.
In many parts of society, we seem to have lost our sense of community, along with the simplicity that is helping others. There are so many reasons used to stop ourselves from doing for others.
- “I just don’t have time to commit to doing good for other people.”
- “I don’t have the money to help others, I can barely help myself.”
- “The world is a selfish place, why should I do more than anyone else?”
- “What difference does helping one person make?”
These are all things that people say when conversations steer towards helping others, humanitarian work, or the state of the world. It seems that there is a misunderstanding of what it means to do good for others.
Yes – some people have a lot of spare time, and can consistently volunteer at shelters, food banks, churches, or any of the many other places that rely on such commitments. But doing good doesn’t have to take time. It just takes an open mind and an open heart.
Heading through the drive-thru for a coffee? Why not pay for the coffee behind you?
Walking into work? Why not smile, say hello, and hold the door for someone?
Going for your own groceries? Why not ask your neighbour if they need anything at the same store?
None of these things add any time to your busy day – but they sure do make a huge impact on others.
Some people picture those who are doing good things as wealthy philanthropists writing large sum cheques to various venues and charities. While this is definitely something that happens – doing good for others doesn’t have to cost you a dime.
Are you good with kids? Why not offer to babysit for that single Mom down the street?
Are you handy around the house? Why not help your parents repair that broken-down fence? Have a spare afternoon 1X a month? Why not offer to help sort donations at your local homeless shelter?
None of these activities cost you anything – but again – they sure do make a huge impact on others.
THE BIG BAD WORLD
We are inundated with negativity all the time. There is no good-news station that broadcasts happy things. All we hear about is the negative, the scary, the sad; so it is easy to start to believe that skewed version of reality. The truth is, there is a lot of positivity in the world – and why wouldn’t you want to be a part of it? Not only does doing good for someone else brighten their day and alter your own well being for the better – it slowly changes the world. If we all did one extra thing for someone else each and every day – well to quote Louis Armstrong “What a wonderful world it would be”.
THE STARFISH FABLE
There is a fable about a young boy walking down the beach after a storm. The storm and tides had left thousands of starfish stranded on the beach. The boy was carefully picking up starfish, one at a time, and throwing them back in the ocean. He would then walk a little more, pick up another, and throw it back in the water. An old man was also walking the beach, and watching the boy. He asked the boy why he was doing that, since there were so many starfish and saving just one wouldn’t make a difference. The boy looked at the man, threw another starfish back, and said “It made a difference to that one”. Helping others is like the boy helping starfish – you might not feel you are making a difference in the grand scheme of things, but you are definitely making a difference to that one person. And if we all made a difference to one person, the world would be a better place for us all.
Remember: One of the core needs of humans is to belong, to connect. What better way to feel that connection than helping someone else.
The challenge: do one good deed, one random act of kindness, one small thing for someone else today.
The guarantee: you will make a difference and feel better and happier for it!
Tags: community, feel good, practice, universe
This post was written by RNR Wellness Team