Altruism for the Every Day
“Here, let me help you.”
It’s a simple yet powerful statement to make.
No matter who it is that you’re addressing, these few words have valuable underlying meanings such as: “I recognise your value”, “you are worth my time” and “helping you is important to me.”
We inhabit a world where we often live around each other instead of with one another. When was the last time you heard conversations on the bus or train?
Altruism—defined as helping another with no expectation of reciprocation—can help us feel more connected. When we give someone a bit of our time, we also give ourselves a healthy dose of perspective:
Our actions really do impact the lives of others.
There is no need to live with the heavy feeling of isolation.
We aren’t alone in our struggles—others are also quietly managing their own burdens.
We are lucky for what we have in our own lives.
It’s no surprise that altruism can be great for mental health. It also reportedly has the power to fight addiction, improve our love lives, and cause others to start caring more as well.
Here are some heart-warming things you can do today:
Go out of your way to hold an elevator door, help carry someone’s bags or offer your seat on the bus. The art of picking up a conversation with a stranger is all but lost, but these are wonderful ice breakers and can truly change someone’s day.
Are you OK?
Never be ashamed to ask someone who is visibly upset if they are OK. It’s not embarrassing, it’s compassionate! Offering a listening ear is such a simple way to be of service.
Take notice of those on the street. Most of us are desensitised to those without homes in our cities, but this doesn’t diminish their value as human beings. You don’t always have to give money—it can be something as simple as ducking into a café to buy them a cup of coffee or the corner servo to get them some snacks.
As you can see, you don’t need to set aside a day for volunteering to make an impact.
However, bringing people together to “do good” through workplace volunteering has been highlighted by corporations as a great way to improve workplace morale and atmosphere. It’s even been said to improve brand perception and help employees develop leadership skills. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is now seen as a “must do” for companies wishing to become “industry leaders.”
Whether you’re offering a lending hand on your commute, on the weekend, or on a mandatory volunteer day at work, remember that you do have the power to make a difference—and feel good doing it!