12-02-2014 by 

What do we do when we are feeling low? Normally, we tend to think of activities which make us happy. So, we get selfish and start indulging and spoiling ourselves. Some of us go to a spa, or immerse ourselves in ‘retail therapy’ at the mall. Some of us bury our sorrows in a fancy dinner, or eat a tub of ice cream. These are only fleeting guilty pleasures. But at the end of the day we often find that we still have low spirits. Instead, try to take a different view and do something for others. Even research shows that helping others is good for your health! Helping others results in what I call the 'Feel Good Syndrome'. So, how do you catch this happy bug?

Talk to Others

Whenever you venture out of your comfort zone of pleasing yourself, and paraglide into the uncharted territory of helping and pleasing others, it has a surprisingly positive and soothing effect on your mood. Helping others does not necessarily have to be some physical or financial taxing social service. Rather, it could be any small gesture. Spend time with your parents or the elderly when they are feeling alone. Or, share a meal with some deserving guy, or even listening to someone’s problem is a great helping deed. Life works in rewarding cycles of giving and receiving where helping out someone inevitably results in cheering you up.

Give to the Needy

Celebrities and the famous are blessed beings, but as we know that with great power comes great responsibility. We always see them endorsing causes close to their hearts and working for them. It’s not always about spending money, but they also spend their time on these causes and sometimes risk their life as well. Angelina Jolie works against sex crimes in war, and visits dangerous combat zones. Bill and Melinda Gates visit volatile parts of African countries and spend time there with their families too. The act of giving and helping out humanity brings peace and happiness to them. So, if the celebrities and wealthy do this then why cant we just try in our own way?

Volunteering: 'The Feel Good Syndrome'

Volunteering broadens our prospective and makes our problems look smaller in comparison to others. Although it sounds a bit selfish, volunteering can make you happy, and hushes up the guilt and sorrow we often feel inside.

Helping others and volunteering makes someone’s life better, and makes your own little impact in this huge world. Since we are mortals and we find it hard to trust any words of advice, unless, it is supported by facts, figures and research I must also add a few statistics to impress you. Harvard medical studies have shown that volunteering has been scientifically proven to be linked with happiness. Research has even shown that volunteering serves as “buffer” between stress and you. It also helps in leading a long and healthy life! [1] [2]

Next time you feel low, think of making a little positive difference in this world. See for yourself how the 'Feel Good Syndrome' helps lighten your mood!

Mood Keywords: socialization, future, self-esteem
1. McDougle, Lindsey, et al., "Health Outcomes and Volunteering: The Moderating Role of Religiosity" http://www.academia.edu/3292088/Health_Outcomes_and_Volunteering_The_Moderating_Role_of_Religiosity_Social_Indicators_Research_ April 24, 2013.
2. “Simple changes , Big rewards: A Practical, easy guide for healthy, happy living also establishes correlation between happiness and volunteering” Harvard Health, http://www.health.harvard.edu/special_health_reports/simple-changes-big-rewards-a-practical-easy-guide-for-healthy-happy-living accessed November 26, 2014.
Image Credit: Cathy Yeulet © 123RF.com (used under license) 
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