That’s why it’s so good for your own health

“I want to help” is an impetus for many in view of the millions of people who have fled Ukraine or who are there in need. But helping isn’t just about helping others, it’s also good for ourselves.

When you help others, they feel better, that’s for sure. But helping isn’t just about others. Numerous studies show that compassion and altruism increase the happiness, serenity and self-esteem of those who help.

People who help others are the happiest and healthiest. Happy hormones are released when we help and we get the “helper high”. Help-starved people automatically have less of all of this. It is therefore worth keeping an eye on where and how you can help. And with the world as it is, that’s the best thing to do.

Anti-stress and anxiolytic

Helping others relieves fear and makes us happier
Helps cushion the negative effects of stress: we experience it less or manage it better. Social psychologist Elizabeth Dunn’s research on generosity and joy shows that helping others makes us happy. It can also be with monetary donations, for example.

And the happier and happier we ourselves are, the more we enjoy helping and giving to others. It makes us happier and we’d rather help out again – and so on. A research group led by Lara Aknin discovered this positive feedback loop effect. What we sow, we reap. This is also called selfish altruism: we get something out of it for ourselves if we help others.

A reward for us and our health

Help also helps us on a very physical level: mutual help and cooperation activate areas of the brain in which rewards are also processed.

Help feels like a reward for our brain – and so our body is flooded with happy hormones. In 2022, scientists and researchers determined that inflammation levels were also decreasing. Just when we believe in our ability to support others, it is already promoting our health.

The right attitude has the right effect

Despite all selfish altruism, it also depends on how we help. We experience a greater effect when, with the right attitude, we view help not just as a moral obligation or self-serving health therapy, but when we look forward to it and look forward to it.

We can do this by imagining or experiencing how our help is received and what difference it makes. So helping can be a source of deep joy. When we give, we build relationships, we are connected, less alone and more integrated into the social whole. As a result, we experience more joy, hope, and love – and we need as much of that as possible right now.

On both sides, the help counteracts depression and boosts self-confidence. It has also been found that people who volunteer for others feel they have more free time. Giving time to others ultimately gives us more time.

Find the form of help that’s right for you

There are many ways to help out, so there’s something for everyone. From donations to Ukrainians, to practical aid for refugees arriving in their own hometown, to peace protests, the images of which send an important signal to the world.

What can we do concretely? Not all forms of help are suitable for everyone. They should match your personality, special skills and preferences. There are three questions that I also ask my seminar participants: What am I good at? What makes me happy? What can I do with it?

Introverts may find it more difficult to greet and direct refugees arriving at a crowded train station. Extroverts who enjoy socializing with lots of people may find it enjoyable right now.

If you have money but no time, donate money. Others give things. If you don’t have the money but the time, you can help on the spot. The German Central Institute for Social Affairs has collected information on emergency aid to Ukraine on its website and listed trustworthy organizations. All over the internet you can now find out how and where you can help.

I wish you a very good “Helpers High” and in addition this positive feedback loop effect.

Ulrike Scheuermann is a qualified psychologist and best-selling author. For 25 years she has been helping people live their lives better and healthier with the most modern psychology methods and without blockages. Her personal care and coaching programs take place at her academy in Berlin and online.

Important Note: The information does not in any way replace professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The content of t-online cannot and should not be used to independently establish diagnoses or initiate treatments.

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