The Reverberating Effects of Giving Back to Others

How giving back to others pays dividends for our own mental and physical well-being.

Sorapop Udomsri/ Shutterstock
Sorapop Udomsri/ Shutterstock

What’s one of the single best thing you can do for yourself to recharge and recover from the stresses that we all experience in our personal and professional lives?

How about doing something for someone else?

One of the single greatest things we can do for ourselves is to give to someone else.

How and Why?

First, like any experiment, it’s important to measure the before versus the after. Take stock of your happiness. Write down or make a mental note of exactly how you feel each morning and evening for a week and include the details of what went well, what didn’t and how you felt overall.

Now, what can you do to make you happier?

I’ve tried it all. Taking part in physical fitness, scheduling an occasional vacation or an afternoon off from work, cooking a meal or going for a walk with just my thoughts during the earliest and quietest hours of the day.

Nothing has given me more happiness than giving back to others and sadly, it took reading Adam Grant’s Give and Take five years ago to realize it.

What constitutes giving back?

It’s different for everyone but the best ways align nicely with one’s schedule to create sustainable habits. Some ideas might include carving out 30-minutes a day to make a business introduction or provide advice to an aspiring entrepreneur. How about calling a parent, a child or another loved one? Maybe you buy your spouse her favorite flowers or chocolate chip cookies (highly recommended!) or just pat a colleague on the back (virtually, nowadays!) and ask how things are going.

The smallest of gestures make a meaningful impact on those around us. And guess what? In doing so, you’ll come away feeling a whole lot better about yourself. And there’s nothing wrong with that!

Try it for a week and take stock again of how you feel. In being as least self-serving as possible, you’ve gone ahead and done something truly powerful for yourself and your happiness.

How has giving back made you happier and more productive?

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