One of the most effective ways of building resilience and bounce back from adversity is to lend a helping hand to others. Many people have experienced the boost helping gives them; hence the term helpers high.
My own experience supports this idea. When our daughter, Kelly, was lost in the world of addictions, I worked with young women who wanted to get their life back on track. When I finally got my own anger management issues in order, I began to lead anger management workshops. When I finally gained a diagnosis for family members who live with disabilities and accessed supports for them, I began to support other caregivers.
Nan Henderson, the founder of Resiliency in Action, tells the story of a foster family who arranged for troubled teen boys to volunteer with disabled veterans. Those youth used their gifts and became “resources rather than problems”.
7 Reasons to Create a Helper’s High
Both researcher, Dr. Stephen Post, author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping and Allan Luks, former executive director of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of New York City and author of The Healing Power of Doing Good, have documented the benefits of creating what is called a Helper’s High. Here are some of the findings:
- 89% of volunteers reported, has improved my sense of well-being.
- 73% of volunteers reported, lowered my stress levels.
- Health problems improved—decreased depression, anger and isolation, and increased social contact.
- Feelings of joy, energy and connection can increase.
- Physical pain decreases while helping others.
- Increased sense of purpose and meaning.
- Increased sense of self-worth, greater happiness, and optimism.
More Reasons to Create a Helper’s High
Not only does volunteering help your physical and mental health, but you can:
- gain work experience
- discover and develop your strengths
- learn new skills
- meet some other dynamic, giving and caring people and
- make a positive difference to your community, country and beyond.
Show me a person who gives of her time, who gives more and more, and lives a full life, and I’ll show you a volunteer. How do you volunteer in your part of the world? If not, you’re missing out on, guess what? A helper high!