Personal growth is at the heart of many New Year’s resolutions. Few paths to positive personal growth are more noble than resolving to help others through increased acts of generosity and kindness.
According to Psychology Today, doing good for others, no matter how big or small the deed, feels good but also provides reciprocal benefits. The link between volunteering and lower rates of depression has been well-documented, and there is neural evidence from MRI studies suggesting a link between being generous and signs of happiness in the brain.
The following are several ways to improve oneself by being more mindful of others.
• Be aware of social issues. Read your local newspaper to stay up-to-date on the pulse of your community as well as the world. Educate yourself about current issues that are affecting people from all walks of life. Understanding the needs or plights of others may boost your willingness to get involved with nonprofit organizations. It also may make you more empathetic and compassionate toward other people.
• Volunteer at a charity. Find a charitable group with which you can volunteer your time. This is a great way to support a cause you believe in and makes it possible for you to collaborate with others who are like-minded, potentially helping you make new friends.
• Learn a new language. North America is a melting pot that’s home to people from many different parts of the world. Learning a new language may facilitate interactions with fellow community members who might not speak English as a first language.
• Help someone you know. It’s commendable to want to assist a charity or a global cause, but what about people close to you who may need a boost? Whether you’re lugging boxes to help a friend move or babysitting a niece or nephew so their parents can enjoy a much-needed night out, when you help someone, those good deeds will return to you in time.
When making resolutions, people should consider goals that involve helping others. While this assistance can benefit the people who are on the receiving end of the care and attention, those who are giving of themselves also reap considerable rewards.