Feeling Good — #9 Helper’s High
#9 Helper’s High!
The stereotype is that altruistic giving is a selfless act. It may be, but scientists are now realizing that when we give to others we indeed get something back. We know now that when you give freely and selflessly you get a rush of endorphins that is very similar to what someone gets when they take morphine. The studies on this are so frequent and consistent that the researchers have developed a name for this experience, they call it the “Helpers High.”
The list of positives that come from giving help are numerous. Here are just a few:
- Decreases depression
- Increases longevity
- Lowers anxiety
- Improves physical health
- Releases endorphins
- Gives one a feeling of satisfaction
- Increases gratefulness
- Reduces aches and pains
There’s more but you get the idea. It’s also important to note that the research has found that the benefits are not universal. If you are highly stressed out it may not help.
Be on the lookout for ways you might be helpful. It could be something very simple like letting a car into your lane in heavy traffic, or helping someone who needs directions. After you help, be aware of how you feel emotionally and how you feel in your body. For a more robust experience I would suggest you volunteer for an organization that might need your help. There are plenty of Hospices or Animal Shelters that could really use your good energy. Try it and see what it does for you. Not only because you are doing good, but also because it helps you FEEL GOOD!
Tom Golden is the author or three books, Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing, The Way Men Heal, and Helping Mothers be Closer to Their Sons: UnderStanding the Unique World of Boys. Tom was the creator of the youtube channel Men Are Good and served as the vice chairman of the Maryland Commission for Men’s Health. He has been a therapist in private practice for over 30 years.