It’s Day 5 of EPIC’s daily tips for improving mental health and managing mental health conditions, which we are rolling out as part of World Mental Health Day. Recent evidence suggests five key areas are key in supporting mental wellbeing. Those areas are:
Every day this week we’ve focused on a different area. Today is all about giving.
Giving is good for you
There is a growing body of scientific evidence promoting the health benefits of helping others. Giving has been identified as a positive way to boost wellbeing, whether it be through random acts of kindness, volunteering, or some other altruistic activity. While people often give out of the goodness of their heart, many find themselves experiencing benefits including:
- Increased happiness and optimism
- Decreased stress and negativity
- Greater sense of belonging and reduced isolation
- Feelings of gratitude
- Physical health benefits
Broaden your perspectives
When we are giving and focusing on others, our own problems take a back seat. Having that distance often allows us to see our challenges from a new perspective, and gather insight from new experiences.
There are many ways we can give, and different ways may appeal to different people. Volunteering opportunities are readily available, which also provides the added benefit of developing transferrable work skills for individuals who are also looking for employment. But acts of giving don’t need to take place through formal channels. Some ideas include:
- Helping out at a local food bank
- Volunteering to shop for a sick neighbour
- Offering to babysit for a friend
- Helping out in a community garden
- Preparing a meal for a friend going through a tough time.
But remember, it’s important to differentiate between giving and caring. The benefits of giving can be gained when the role is not too overwhelming, and is within the person’s resources. Always keep a track of your personal wellbeing, and don’t be afraid to step back and seek professional help when needed.
It’s easy to incorporate giving into your life. Your generosity can help others manage the pressures and daily stresses of life, while improving your own sense of gratitude and life balance. How can you make a difference through giving today?