December 24, 2018
Below is a lesson from Time on how helping others leads to happiness, as well as our key learning.
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The Secret to Happiness is Helping Others
by JENNY SANTI
There is a Chinese saying that goes: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” For centuries, the greatest thinkers have suggested the same thing: Happiness is found in helping others.
For it is in giving that we receive — Saint Francis of Assisi
The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity — Leo Tolstoy
We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give — Winston Churchill
Making money is a happiness; making other people happy is a superhappiness — Nobel Peace Prize receipient Muhammad Yunus
Giving back is as good for you as it is for those you are helping, because giving gives you purpose. When you have a purpose-driven life, you’re a happier person — Goldie Hawn
And so we learn early: It is better to give than to receive. The venerable aphorism is drummed into our heads from our first slice of a shared birthday cake. But is there a deeper truth behind the truism?
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- Scientific research provides compelling data to support the anecdotal evidence that giving is a powerful pathway to personal growth and lasting happiness.
- Through fMRI technology, we now know that giving activates the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by food and sex.
- Experiments show evidence that altruism is hardwired in the brain—and it’s pleasurable.
- Giving can also make us feel depleted and taken advantage of.
- Tips to help you give not until it hurts, but until it feels great:
- Find your passion: Our passion should be the foundation for our giving. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.
- Give your time: The gift of time is often more valuable to the receiver and more satisfying for the giver than the gift of money.
- Give to organizations with transparent aims and results: Giving to a cause that specifies what they’re going to do with your money leads to more happiness.
- Find ways to integrate your interests and skills with the needs of others: It is important to be willing to give more than you receive, but still keeping your own interests in sight.
- Be proactive, not reactive: Set aside time, think about our options, and find the best charity for our values.
- Don’t be guilt-tripped into giving: If we are feeling guilt-tripped into giving, chances are we will not be very committed over time to the cause.
- The key is to find the approach that fits us. When we do, then the more we give, the more we stand to gain purpose, meaning and happiness.
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