Nowadays, it’s common to be fighting an uphill battle in order to find one’s own happiness. It can be difficult to meet the step of true contentment that will satisfy one’s self.

However, helping people is one of the easiest forms in finding sustainable/long-term happiness, and takes much less time and effort than trying to find that happiness from receiving, going on shopping sprees, or worrying about the superficial details in life that come with this day and age of social media. The most challenging thing for people to understand is that when you help someone, you stand to gain more out of the experience. Additionally, one should be grateful to be able to help others rather than be the one in need of help. Take a moment and think about the last statement.

“It’s better to give than to receive.”

During the Holiday season, there’s a saying that goes around, “It’s better to give than to receive.” Similarly, a Chinese proverb states, “A giver is more fortunate than a receive.” It is logical because someone who can give must be in surplus, while someone who needs help lacks something. Therefore, not only is it a way of restoring balance in the world, but often, one tends to find that by being positive and channeling it into actions, you will receive the same thing in return.

How giving back benefits your mental health

This is not to say that we should do something to feel good or to receive something else in return, but that when you associate your actions with positive attitudes (or think positive thoughts and act on them), you will nurture a positive mental state. 

For example, getting involved in volunteer work helps one appreciate their life. One must expand their world to learn that others face similar challenges and overcome them. Helping someone with an assignment or homework develops your teaching skills and reinforces your understanding and knowledge about the subject. Helping a friend with their remodel project may provide insight into the best places to buy certain goods.

Helping those in need is an enjoyable experience. One should help out of the goodness in your heart and not because of any implied return. If you feel like you are always giving and not receiving, it could be because you are either expecting too much from helping others (which should not be your motivation) or because you have everything you need (which you should be grateful for). Check your attitude. Check your position. It is better to give than to receive.

How giving back can increase selflessness

Many people who give back to others also experience higher levels of selflessness. In terms of the “Joy of giving” research from the Association of Psychological Science, one may experience greater happiness after helping others rather than focusing/helping themselves; that feeling you get of excitement, happiness, and all the other positive feelings, simmer shortly after the selfish action was done. From this article, we are told that “If you want to sustain happiness over time, past research tells us that we need to take a break from what we are currently consuming and experience something new”.

If you are struggling with selfishness, one of many ways you can overcome this, is to find ways to be humble, which as mentioned above, can be giving back to others. If you ever notice that you are experiencing a sense of selfishness and want to find ways to improve this. Our therapists are here to help in finding new ways of feeling connected during this holiday season.

References

“The Joy of Giving Lasts Longer than the Joy of Getting.” Association for Psychological Science – APS, 20 Dec. 2018, https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/the-joy-of-giving.html.

By Jeralyn Rodriguez

Jeralyn is currently an intern at Modern Wellness Counseling and is in her second year at UTSA. Her classification is a junior and she is studying Psychology. With this opportunity she hopes to learn more about what it means to work in mental health practice and to help clients just like you.

Jeralyn Rodriguez

Jeralyn is currently an intern at Modern Wellness Counseling and is in her second year at UTSA. Her classification is a junior and she is studying Psychology. With this opportunity she hopes to learn more about what it means to work in mental health practice and to help clients just like you.

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