It is all to easy to overlook the many people we come in contact with on a daily basis. After all, we are busy people with more to do than we could possibly hope to accomplish in a day. Sometimes, like in the video below, we just need to slow down and be more conscious of those around us. When we act on behalf of others, we give them a sense of comfort. In that moment, there is somebody that cares. They are not in it alone, if even just for a brief time.
In a WebMD article I read recently, Jeanie Davis brings to light research that has shown the person on the receiving end of a good deed is not the only one impacted. The doer of the good deed actually receives as much if not more positive benefits. This connection was actually discovered inadvertently in 1956 when researchers at Cornell University began studying 427 married women with children. The premise of the study was that the women with more children would be under more stress, therefore, women with fewer children should have a higher life expectancy.
What they found surprised them. They discovered that the number of children, education, class, and work status had no meaningful affect on the women’s life span. After keeping tabs on these women for 30 years they did, however, discover one constant. They found a correlation between experiencing a major illness and volunteering in charitable activities. 52% of those that did not volunteer had experienced a major illness, compared to only 36% of the women who had chosen to volunteer. Other studies have shown as much as a 44% reduction in early deaths among those who volunteer on a regular basis. That is a greater effect than exercising four times a week!
While I am not suggesting that you retire your running shoes just yet, the benefits of helping others are tremendous. I challenge you to be more aware of those around you. After all, we are all in this together. Life is too short not to stop and smell the proverbial roses. I know I would not be where I am today without the help and guidance of others. Be that person in someone’s life. Why not stop and make a conscious effort to help at least one person today. It may be as simple as holding a door for someone or taking the time to go out of your way to encourage someone that seems to be having a rough day.
I would love to hear your input. In what ways has someone affected your life by lending a helping hand, or in what way has helping others affected you life in a positive way?