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Help Someone

Help Someone

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Helping someone is as simple as it sounds. It can be anything from giving a hint on the street to sharing food, to actions that involve greater commitment or time.

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Possible Benefits

  • May boost your mood 
  • May increase motivation 
  • May decrease stress
  • May decrease anxiety 
  • May increase confidence 
  • May increase life satisfaction
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How to Do It

There are two basic ways to help: 

  1. Responding to other people's requests. Whenever someone asks you for help, and you think is safe and possible to do it, just take action and help the person. 
  2. Taking the initiative to help proactively. You may decide to help someone by giving them food, making a donation, or volunteering in your community. You can also help a friend or family member by helping them solve their problems.
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Why it works

  • Humans are social beings. Biologically, it means that we are meant to cooperate to some extent. We inherit a sense of connection and wellbeing whenever we help someone, especially if they are in trouble.
  • Helping someone forces us to focus on something other than our own issues. This decreases stress and anxiety. 
  • Dedicating our time and money to an external cause has been proven to be a way to build long-term happiness
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Time Commitment

10-40 minutes 

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Suggested Frequency

At least once a week 

When you have the chance

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Time of Day


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Possible Side Effects

None known

Make sure you help in a safe environment

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  • Any small action is meaningful 
  • Help people from your community 
  • Read Martin Seligman’s writing on long-term happiness 
  • Find volunteering opportunities according to your interests
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Supporting Studies and Articles

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  1. Altruism, Helping, and Volunteering: Pathways to Well-Being in Late Life. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3910233/  
  2. Volunteering and health benefits in general adults: cumulative effects and forms. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5504679/ 
  3. Giving to Others and the Association Between Stress and Mortality. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3780662/ 
  4. Ways to support someone who is grieving. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/ways-to-support-someone-who-is-grieving 
  5. Stop asking ‘how are you?’ Harvard researchers say this is what successful people do when making small talk. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/07/stop-asking-how-are-you-harvard-researchers-say-this-is-how-successful-people-make-small-talk.html 
  6. Positive psychology progress: empirical validation of interventions. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16045394/ 
  7. Positive Psychology and Physical Health. Research and Applications. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6124958/ 
  8. A balanced psychology and a full life. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1693422/
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 Happiness  Confidence  Stress  Motivation
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