The Healing Nature of Giving Back
By: Shae LaPlace
We all know that giving back is a good thing to do. But giving back isn’t just good for those that your time and money are intended to help, it’s good for you too! Some people out there will say that giving back for any reason other than strictly to help others is selfish, or in-genuine. I say, that’s beside the point, and completely the wrong mindset. If giving back helps others, and also makes you feel good, hell yes! Weather giving with your time, or your wallet, giving back can truly be a healing thing. There are actually some tangible reasons for that!
Giving back can be helpful with stress and depression. For a lot of us our stress, and even our depression can come from feelings of isolation, and helplessness. Being able to positively contribute to another life can help with feelings of helplessness. Knowing that we are helping others can also relieve the overwhelming sense that we are not in control. Giving back feels inherently productive, and feeling productive is extremely stress reducing.
In addition to relief from stress and depression, giving back is a great way to connect with new people. There is no doubt that making new connections is good for us. When we meet new people, and begin to build new relationships we can feel uplifted, and encouraged by possibility. Particularly, if your volunteering for a cause that you care about, and you may be surprised how much you have in common with the people you meet there. Whether it is good networking for your career, or a new friend, giving back can lead to great new relationships.
Making new friends is great, but depending on how you’ve chosen to give back with your time, it can also mean learning a new skill. Volunteer opportunities can mean building structures, surveying land, cooking, sewing, etc. Learning new skills is good for our brain, and can even turn into a fresh new hobby. Finding new hobbies outside of our required day to day, enriches our lives in a meaningful way.
Giving back can also instill a sense of purpose. Often times, when anxiety and stress of the day to day suffocates our world, giving back restores our sense of human to human purpose. When you are able to help someone on a basic level, it can remind us of our potential. Even if we are stressed about work, and feel behind on the responsibilities of our lives, giving back can make us feel accomplished on a different level.
Serving as a reminder of our sense of purpose, giving back can also evoke a sense of gratitude. Any giving back we do which helps the less fortunate, can remind us of all the things we have to be grateful for. When we give back, we are forced to think about the privilege we have to be on the giving side of the equation. Gratitude, and the feelings of appreciation it brings can be incredibly healing to our hearts and minds.
Whether we’d like to admit it or not, we can sometimes see giving back as a chore. We’re busy, we have responsibilities, to others, and to ourselves, while giving back, helping strangers, animals, the environment, it can seem like a burden on our time. When we remember why we’re doing it, and we see how it benefits the world, how much we have to be grateful for, then we go out, and we do it. But the way that giving back heals us in return, is the element we often forget.