Six Ways to Boost Your “Habits of Helping"
15 Mar 2011 | Greater Good Science Centre
Want to live a longer, healthier life? Stephen G.
Post explains how to reap the benefits of practicing
In 2008, I lost my job of 20 years and uprooted my family to
pursue a new position. The move strained my marriage, my
relationship with my son, my sense of well-being. Like many
Americans in their 50s who thought they were more or less past any
financial worries, I found myself anxious for the first time in
I know my story is not unusual. These are hard times. Much of
our nation, and our planet, is confronted with environmental and
economic upheaval. It can be difficult to believe that things are
going to get any better anytime soon.
Yet one thing I've learned from my own
experiences of loss and hardship is that, when all else fails, we
can still give to others. And doing so will always be our
salvation, our reconnection to the world.
Research backs this up. Whether we are looking at studies of
older adults, middle-aged women, or preteens, we see that
altruistic behavior casts a halo effect over people's lives, giving
them greater longevity, lower rates of heart disease, and better
mental health. We prosper-physically, mentally, emotionally-under
the canopy of positive emotions that arise through the simple act
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Do things for others, Take care of your body, Be a Happiness Activist