Did you do something nice for someone today? You’d be surprised how better you feel about your own problems when you talk to someone about theirs – and especially when you can help them with theirs. Whether it’s a compliment, a favor, or just a cup of coffee for a stranger, do something nice for someone and reduce your stress.
Stress is ubiquitous and one of the biggest threats to our health. Besides all the tips around to-do lists, exercise, routines, and debunking time-wasters, there is another effective strategy to help combat stress: do something nice for someone else.
Helping other people and being socially involved has been proven to make people happy. Even Goethe recognized the positive effect of acting benevolently toward our fellow human beings:
“If you want to be happy in life
contribute to the happiness of others.
For the love we give
returns to our own hearts.”
It’s true, helping others makes you happy, and those who are happy release more happiness hormones (oxytocin), which in turn reduce their own stress. It also activates the reward center in the brain, which plays a big role in instinctive behavior. Doing something for someone without expecting anything in return is called altruism, and it evokes a feeling of richness and abundance. That beautiful feeling when we have done other people a favor, listened to them or supported them.
How you can help other people
It is very easy to help other people and relieve stress in the process: It’s small gestures in everyday life like a warm-hearted smile or even a compliment, it’s an open, non-judgmental ear when someone wants to pour their heart out to you or even when you help with a problem in a very concrete way. You will notice: If you regularly offer your help to other people, this not only strengthens the bond, but you will also be helped if you ever need a sympathetic ear.
Let other people know that you are thinking of them, that you are there for them, be empathetic and open, and feel how your stress and tension are reduced with every good deed.