It’s the end of January and the season for giving is over. We can quit thinking of ways to share the abundance in our lives with others. We can go back to focusing on ourselves without consideration for those who might be less fortunate.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Look, you know how ridiculous the attitude is about only helping others during the holidays. We’ve heard all kinds of research that points out just how beneficial providing for others or helping them solve their problems — regardless of the time of year — is for both the giver and the receiver. There is no such thing as a season of giving. This is a much too limited way of thinking.
The need for our generosity, be it in the form of money, time, or energy, exists year-round.
Remember, helping others can be as simple as holding the door for someone, or asking if that person with the “deer in the headlights” look needs help. And, as if you need further proof, yet another study came out recently discussing how helping others helps ourselves.
Dr. Emily Ansell, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, shared results from her recent research where participants used smart-phones to record feelings of well-being throughout the day based on their activities. The results indicated that helping others boosted participants’ daily well-being. A greater number of “helping behaviors” was associated with higher levels of daily positive emotion and better overall mental health. Participants’ helping behavior also positively influenced how they responded to stress.
Is it necessary that you get something out of the act of being generous?
Can you do a positive act for another for the purely intrinsic value of it, or does it have to be for some perceived value to you? In other words, “I’ll give and give and give all day if I can get something out of it too … something that makes ME feel better about being so generous.”
Would you consider giving if you reaped no reward from your action? For me, the challenge lies in attempting to give to others when there is no way for them to know it was my action that enhanced their life. Sometimes I’ll wait until right before I leave to pay my bill at a restaurant. That way, if I’ve tipped more than is required, I don’t get to see the server’s reaction to my generosity.
Isn’t it time to re-evaluate when and how to give to others who would benefit from your bounty?
I’m happy to ask you to check what would work for a more consistent plan of giving to others rather than giving only when the spotlight is on you, the giver. People experiencing exemplary needs don’t just surface during the holidays. Why not help alleviate some of the burdens of others that occur year-round?