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The Science of Helping Out

Generosity For Beating Anxiety

Doing things that help others give us the ‘helper’s high’. Deeds like volunteering, donating money, showing up for other people, and even the act of thinking of doing good for someone can release feel-good chemicals in the brain, decreasing stress and anxiety.

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The Science of Helping Out

The Science of Helping Out

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/09/well/mind/coronavirus-resilience-psychology-anxiety-stress-volunteering.html

nytimes.com

4

Key Ideas

Helping Others To Help Yourself

In these unprecedented times, with a global crisis upending our lives, more people are experiencing mental health issues like stress and depression. This is due to many real and perceived problems affecting us and our loved ones.

Scientific research on emotional health reveals that helping others can affect us positively

Generosity For Beating Anxiety

Doing things that help others give us the ‘helper’s high’. Deeds like volunteering, donating money, showing up for other people, and even the act of thinking of doing good for someone can release feel-good chemicals in the brain, decreasing stress and anxiety.

Virtual Help

In the times of social distancing and lockdowns, technology comes to our rescue, with new ways to help. Money can be sent at a click of a button, and video calls can be made just to listen to someone in stress, or to provide advice. Every small thing counts.

Help Others And Live Longer

Helping and supporting others provides us with a ‘Teflon’ coating against the detrimental effects of stress. It regulates our emotions and provides us with a sense of control.

Having a strong sense of purpose makes our lives bigger than ourselves, gives it meaning and eventually results in better physical, mental, and financial health.

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Understanding Stress
  • Dealing with Stress is imperative as it is unavoidable in modern life.
  • Our work, family and our finances create daily stress and other external factors (like politics and terrorism) co...
Your Perception About Stress

With stress, the mind and the body are intrinsically linked. You can view stress as something that is wreaking havoc on your body (and it can) or as something that is giving you the strength and energy to overcome adversity.

Exposure to Stress

Regular exposure to stress in small quantities can prepare us to handle a big stressful event in our lives. Prepare yourself for stress by self-education about the stressful event, by doing some physically stressful activities like completing a marathon, or something you dread, like giving a speech.

Repeated exposure to mildly stressful conditions can alter your body’s biological response to stress, making you manage stress in a better way.

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The Progress Principle: Tiny steps build motivation
The Progress Principle: Tiny steps build motivation

If you wait for the ideal conditions before you start, you'll probably never do it.

A lack of motivation is an emotional issue. That means there is no hack to save you....

Look for ways your work impacts the people around you

Procrastination is worst when we don't see the point of our jobs. The connection to a larger purpose helps us find meaning and motivation at work.

If your job doesn't make a huge impact, think about how it has helped the people you spend your day with. Each day, write down three ways your work has helped your coworkers.

Giving advice to someone else can be motivating

We don't lack motivation because we don't know how to be motivated, but because we don't know how to act on our own knowledge.

When we feel unmotivated, it's common to seek advice. But research shows that giving advice can be more motivating than receiving advice.

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Reinforcing People’s Helpfulness
Reinforcing People’s Helpfulness
  • Strong sense of in-group: the belief that the person in need is on your team makes us more helpful to them as we care about what happens to the in-group. 
  • Opportunity to...
2 types of gratitude expression
  • Other-praising: involves acknowledging and validating the character or abilities of the giver;
  • Self-benefit: which describes how the receiver is better off for having been given help. 

The former makes people feel better with themselves and that you are more grateful when compared to the latter.

Reminding People That They Owe You One

If you have to remind someone that they owe you one, chances are they don’t feel as if they do. Reminding them that they owe you a favor both makes the other person feel as if you’re trying to control them and it makes the other person feel as if you’re keeping a scorecard, and that’s fundamentally bad for relationships.

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The Advice Trap
The Advice Trap

It happens when one rushes to provide advice, which is most likely to be discarded or ignored, even if the person was asked for it.

Even with good intentions, providing advice isn’...

Word Play When Asking For Advice

When someone mentions a problem, it most likely isn’t the core problem but only an outward symptom.

Even if by some miracle one is able to find out the real problem, it does not mean that the advice doled out will be useful or will be implemented.

Ignorance And Superficial Knowledge

Most people are ignorant of their ignorance and live in a self-created bubble of superficial knowledge, which they believe is the only true knowledge there is, due to a cognitive bias known as the Dunning-Kruger effect.

A piece of straightforward advice doled out to be followed to the tee, is often due to lack of knowledge, rather than because of it.

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Defining "Success"

“Success” isn’t just having lots of money. 

Success is continuously improving who you are, how you live, how you serve, and how you relate.

Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it.

Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it.
Putting "first things" first

Start the day with your #1 priority.

Getting up early isn’t enough. You need to put first things first. When you put your top priorities first, then you ensure they make it into the bucket of your day. After your main priorities have been completed, the rest will fill the gaps.

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Happy people vs. miserable people

Happy people engage in more happiness-boosting habits while unhappy people engage in more misery-inducing habits. 

You can choose which habits to cultivate in your life. If ...

Happy People Experience Flow Often
Flow is a state of complete absorption and full involvement in the present moment. 

It is marked by intense concentration, a sense of timelessness, and a loss of self-consciousness. It’s a deeply healing and enjoyable state and one that greatly contributes to our happiness.

Activities of happy people
  • They meditate.
  • They exercise regularly. “Surveys show that exercise may very well be the most effective instant happiness booster of all activities.”
  • They stop and smell the roses. 
  • They spend time with their furry friends.
  • They spend time outside.

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Forgiveness
  • Forgiveness is choosing to accept what happened as it happened rather than what could or should have happened. 
  • Forgiveness can mean that you let go. 
  • Forgiveness can...
Forgiveness is a process

Forgiveness takes time for most. Shock and anger often come before forgiveness. Deal with the hurt feelings before moving into forgiveness.

The act of forgiving is one of realizing that holding onto the anger and resentment no longer carries the same weight on us.

Forgiveness ≠ weakness

One roadblock people face with forgiveness is the idea of being seen as "weak" and saying that what the offender did is excusable.

It requires more strength to forgive. Staying angry, resentful, and vengeful can have a detrimental impact on your physical and emotional health as well as your relationships.

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Positive Thinking
  • Recall positive life events.
  • Help others and remind yourself that you can impact the world and feel happier.
  • Practice mindfulness that makes you more pres...
Creating Purpose

Living a life with meaning and purpose is key to improving your psychological well-being. Your purpose doesn’t necessarily have to involve changing the world or devoting yourself to helping others.

If you lack a purpose, think about the legacy you’d like to leave behind and establish some objectives that can help you reach those goals. 

Psychological Well-Being

it is the combination of feeling good and functioning effectively. People with high psychological well-being report feeling capable, well-supported, and satisfied with life, besides living longer and healthier lives.

Researchers found that the absence of distress doesn’t necessarily correlate with high psychological well-being, but it does with having one’s basic needs met. 

Research Findings On Supplements
  • Pharmaceuticals undergo extensive testing to prove they're effective and safe before they can be sold, but dietary supplements can be sold without proof of claims, effectiveness or safety.
Supplements And Doctor Prescriptions

Because of the potential risks and unclear benefits of supplements, most doctors advise against them. However, doctors often recommend specific vitamin and mineral supplements to their patients, such as calcium and vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis and iron for people with iron deficiency.

When Buying Supplements
  • Consider only single-ingredient supplements. Multi-ingredient supplements make it hard to identify which substance is having an effect and they are more likely to be adulterated with banned drugs.
  • Tell your doctor about any supplement you take, so they can check it will interact with any of the medicines you're on.
Journaling as therapy

Labeling emotions and acknowledging traumatic events, both natural outcomes of journaling, have a known positive effect on people, and are often incorporated into traditional talk therapy.

Morning Pages

3 pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-conscious, done as soon as one wakes.

They are not meant to be art. Or even writing. They need not be smart, or funny, or particularly deep. It's a form of “brain drain”, a way to expel all that angry, petty stuff that spirals through our subconscious and muddies our days.

Benefits of Journaling
  • Boost in mindfulness
  • Better memory
  • Better communication skills
  • Improves mental health
  • Better sleep
  • A stronger immune system
  • More self-confidence
  • Higher I.Q.