Helping others makes us happier
- Research shows those who give are more likely to be happy with their lives
- Inward focus can lead to anxiety, stress
LITTLE ROCK -- When Arkansans are hurting and need help, their neighbors are quick to respond. Why does helping others make us feel good?
“People who give their time, money, support and assistance are more likely to be happy with their lives overall,” said James Marshall, associate professor and family life specialist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “Research supports this, but the real proof is in observing people who help their neighbors - they are generally satisfied and suffer less depression.”
Wally Goddard, a professor and family life specialist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said that “when we turn our focus inward, it can lead to depression, anxiety and stress. By looking outside ourselves and being proactive in helping another, we free ourselves up to feel compassion and kindness. These positive emotions overcome the negative ones and help us combat the ills of our lives.”
A two-way street
“Everyone has or will need help in his or her life,” Marshall said. “Understanding that giving to others is its won reward will elevate not only your mood, but also your general well-being too.”
Donating time, goods or funds are all good ways to benefit those around us, as well as ourselves.
Perhaps the best ways to help, though, are the simplest: listen when your loved ones need it most and share a smile.
“Sometimes, what people really need is someone who will listen and offer support, not advice,” Marshall said. “Helping others can make a real difference for them and can make us happier in the process.”
For more information, visit extension's newly revamped web site, www.uaex.edu, or contact your county extension agent.
The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
For the Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service