Happiness Habits – Day 28: Giving Back Makes Us Happier
When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for Christmas. It was all about the presents I would get. I’d spend days and weeks trying to guess what Mom and Dad would get me this year. I’d even obsessively search closets for hiding places. It was all about receiving material things.
As I’ve grown older, that has changed a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I still appreciate a thoughtful gift, but to be honest, most the fun at Christmas for me know is giving gifts. I find joy in the process of finding just the right gift, putting it in someone’s hands, and then seeing their eyes light up when they open their present. And, of course, there is nothing more fun than watching the little ones squeal with delight on Christmas morning as they open the gifts under the tree.
Giving is Groovy!
What I have learned over the years is that giving makes me happier. It isn’t just about physical gifts. Anytime I can give something, be it a moment of time, a kind word, sound advice, a 30 Day Happiness Challenge , or a hug, it makes me feel good to give back. You might also notice that giving increases your own happiness.
Remember the last post, when I asked you to spread some smiles around? Didn’t you enjoy that? When you focus on giving a little more than on receiving, you will most likely lead a happier and more fulfilled life.
Think about the various things you can do to start giving more – remembering to take care of yourself and being mindful of your own needs. This is not about adding to your stress levels! If you have time, volunteering is a great place to start and there are so many opportunities to do just that. You can help out at your child’s school or at the local church. Homeless shelters and soup kitchens are always grateful for an extra pair of hands. If you’re good with animals, help your local humane society to walk dogs and socialize kittens. Reading to patients at the hospital or people in a senior living facility is another wonderful way to give back. If you’ve got some great mad skill, consider giving your time at a non-profit to help them out.
Keep It Simple
If you’re not able to get out of the house much to volunteer, there are still plenty of opportunities to give back. If you’re crafty, knit some preemie caps for your local hospital or sew up some pet blanket for a local no-kill shelter. Help organize online events, or offer to virtually tutor kids who need homework help.
Start volunteering and giving back and notice how good it makes you feel. It instills a sense of pride and purpose in you and that in turn will help increase your overall happiness. Giving back to your community and family is a wonderful feeling that I hope you get to experience more.