Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wednesday's Weekly Welldoers

Wednesdays are bitter-sweet days of the week; half of the work or school week is already over, but there is still another whole half to conquer before the weekend.  Since everyone can use a little pick-me-up to get them armored up for the work-week battle, every Wednesday, I want us to take a little time to reflect on the past week, concentrating on helping.

Scientific studies have determined that helping others or volunteering our time to better the world benefits our health, general well being, and happiness.

When we offer our skills or services to people without a cost or any expected returns, we automatically boost our feelings of self-worth; we subconsciously and consciously realize that we meant something to someone or something in that moment - that we were important to that person or thing.  During that instant, we had the power to change the course of someone's second, minute, day, or even week - how grand of a talent is that?! The simple action of helping others can provide us with feelings of purpose that humans crave and need.  If you are sitting here reading this, then you are part of this world, part of the people that make it up.  Take ownership and feel that sense of value - you are giving back to the world in which you live in and every small, minute task helps to keep it running.

Helping other people also instantly improves our social lives without much effort.  While performing those helpful actions, we are interacting with people, even if for a short moment.  This social interaction makes us feel connected to other people, decreasing senses of loneliness that may exist.  Who knows - maybe the person you helped will even become a new friend or soul mate! Since helping a person does not necessarily require full on conversation, you can slowly overcome shyness, too, by putting yourself out there in the public without the stresses of finding topics to maintain a full-fledged conversation.

Studies have also shown that helping others and volunteering lowers blood pressure, diminishes stress, boosts hormones that induce good feelings, and spreads joy to others.  Since all of these feelings and emotions that stem from helping others or the environment are feelings and emotions that combat depression, we boost our own happiness levels.  Not only do we help others in the process, but we also help ourselves.

You don't have to discover a cure for a rare disease or batman-ify yourself and catch a person falling from a roof to reap the benefits of helping; you can still feel good and increase your happiness levels from doing seemingly small tasks.  Pick up a pencil for that elderly gentleman.  Hold the door for the mom with her hands full of crying children.  Pick up a wrapper you find on the ground.  Smile at the person who looks glum.  Those seemingly small actions may just be enough to turn a person's day from horrific to glorious.

Now go ahead and reflect on the last week.  Have you witnessed a moment where someone has helped out another person? Share it! Reading through the weekly actions of welldoers will show us all that there is hope for our society; that we still care for one another and are compassionate.  Think about your own actions - I'm sure you have helped someone out at some point this week, even if you haven't realized it.  Don't be shy - this is the moment where you can boast about your actions! After all, you didn't help that person in hopes of getting a reward; you did it because there is pure goodness inside of you.  Hopefully this will all help us to be a little more conscious of helping those around us; let's take notice of our own actions.  Next time someone needs a little help, this consciousness may help us to refrain from hesitating.

If you are ever feeling like you need a pick me up, like you don't have much worth, or that humanity is becoming just straight up mean and rude (it sure does seem like that sometimes, but I blame technology...that's a future post!), read through others' postings or reflect upon and share your own!  You can also share how someone has helped you in the past week.  Remember, a helpful action can be as simple as making dinner for someone or helping someone carry some books!

Stuck on some ideas? Here are some examples to get your brain-wheels rotating at full speed (I literally picture little hamsters running at lightspeed in our brains...if only people could see what goes on in my mind!):
  • Throwing a morning newspaper closer to someone's door since you are already up and at 'em and walking around the block in the morning
  • Complimenting someone's hair, outfit, style, pocket protector, etc.
  • Washing dishes for your mom or dad if you don't typically do so
  • Offering your time to a coworker who has to stay late inorder to finish a project
  • Mowing your neighbor's lawn
  • Going grocery shopping for a family member that is in need of something
  • Using your muscles to life a painting for a muscle-deficient sister (or brother!)
  • Baking brownies for your friends
  • Writing a thank you card
  • Letting another car go first if you aren't in a hurry - you never know, they just might be late for an appointment that the drastically need
  • Killing a spider for someone who is deathly afraid of them (A big, ginormous thank you to every person that does that for me and that will do so in the have NO idea how much I appreciate it!)
  • Bringing someone toilet paper when it has all run out...probably one of the most helpful things of all, no?
See, you can help a person in a multitude of ways, so let's all spread some goodness around and be happy!

I now share with you my helpful moments for the past week - here are a bunch to get us started:

  • Moments I've seen someone get helped:
    • One of the sales reps was on her way to visit our office.  With her, she was carrying 2 huge cases of supplies for us to take a look at.  Of all days, that was the day where there was NO parking anywhere near the vicinity due to an event that was going on downtown.  After finding a parking spot a couple blocks away, another sales rep, basically one of her business rivals, noticed this lady overcome by a multitude of bags.  He walked on over to her after he found a parking spot just so that he could help share her load.  I think she thanked him about 20 times while they were both waiting in our office!   
    • While at the gas station, the attendant, who recognizes us after seeing us quite a bit, noticed that my family member was obviously not in the best possible mood.  To try and get her to crack a smile, he kept cracking jokes.  He succeeded.  
  • Moments I've helped someone:
    • With certain issues going on, my family hasn't been feeling too great recently.  It may not be the healthiest route, but I know that sweets and dessert always cheer up my family members.  On my day off, I woke up early just to bake them a surprise for when they all returned home - a Chocolate Chip and Raisin Oatmeal Cake.  It all can't be eaten in one day, so a slice can be enjoyed every evening after a stressful day for the next few days, instantly boosting their moods and satisfying their appetites!
      • P.S. The cake was DELICIOUS - sooooo moist and it is tasting better day after day!  Click here for the recipe. I just made a few modifications: added 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, crushed almonds (maybe 1/4 cup? I just tossed a bunch in) in a blender and sprinkled them on top along with a drizzle of pure maple syrup, downsized the white sugar to 1/2 cup instead of a full one, and swapped out the full cup of chocolate chips for 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup raisins.  Definitely try this recipe out!
    • While at work, I helped a lady pick out a new pair of glasses.  Yes, it is my job, but my service and attention to her wants, likes, and needs was obviously something she was not accustomed to.  I took the time to really listen to her and did not let her just settle on something.  She picked out a frame and was ready to purchase it, but I did not sense vibes of a real love for it.  I could have taken her money right there and then, but I told her to hold off while I ordered something different for her to see.  She wound up falling in absolute love with it; her eyes literally sparkled.  When she picked up the final product, she told me she has never found a frame as much as this one - she said she actually felt as if she looked good in them.  My current job may not be what I want to be doing for the rest of my life, but her genuine gratitude made me realize how much of an impact you have no matter what you are doing. 
  • Moments where I've been helped by others:
    • Trying to maximize on my time while at work, I decided to carry about a million cases, as usual.  Of course, I am neither very athletic nor am I graceful, so I drop them all around me (this is a daily occurrence).  One of the patients that was sitting down got up just to help me pick them up.  He also did not shove them at me right away; instead, he patiently waited and allowed me to go put the other ones away so that I wouldn't repeat the same avalanche! Thank you, Mr. 
    • My grandma brought me some vegetables I was going to buy at the grocery store from her garden in Wisconsin.  I did not have to add them to my already expensive shopping list.  A very, very big thank you to her!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you to my daughter who dropped off my travel mug this morning. I really needed that cup of coffee!