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Skincare for self-care

MANDI MAKES

Natural Living Made Simple

MANDI MAKES

Long-Term Happiness Hack: The Science Behind the Lasting Effects of Serving Others

Self-care challenge

In a world where it's easy to get caught up in our own lives, it's important to remember the incredible impact that serving others can have on our own mental health. It's not just about helping someone else; it's also about helping ourselves feel happier and more fulfilled. Let's dive into how lending a hand can do wonders for your mood and well-being, and the effects last a lot longer than you may think! It’s more than just immediate gratification and one of the best happiness hacks there is.

 

In the blog:



 

THE SCIENCE BEHIND IT: WHY SERVING OTHERS FEELS SO GOOD


Have you ever wondered why it feels so rewarding to lend a helping hand? Well, it turns out that there's some fascinating science behind it! When we engage in acts of kindness, our brains actually release neurotransmitters like dopamine and oxytocin. These chemicals are often referred to as the "feel-good" hormones because they're associated with pleasure, social bonding, and overall well-being. Sound familiar? If you’ve been reading my blogs recently you will have come across these hormones already, and that’s because they’re amazing we love them 🥰

 

Be kind

Dopamine, in particular, plays a key role in our brain's reward system. It's released when we experience something enjoyable, like eating our favourite food or receiving a compliment. So, when you help someone out and experience that warm, fuzzy feeling afterwards, you can thank dopamine for that!

 

On the other hand, oxytocin is often called the "love hormone" or "bonding hormone" because it's released during social interactions and moments of connection. It's what helps us feel closer to others and strengthens our relationships. So, when you engage in acts of service and feel a sense of connection with the person you're helping, oxytocin is likely playing a part in that experience.

 

But here's the really cool part: research has shown that these feel-good effects aren't just temporary.

Studies have found that regularly engaging in acts of kindness and altruism can lead to long-term improvements in mental health and overall well-being.

So, by making giving back a regular part of your life, you're not just spreading kindness – you're also investing in your own happiness and fulfilment.

 


 

LASTING EFFECTS: HOW HELPING STICKS AROUND


It gets even better! The positive effects of serving others can stick with you long after the act itself. It's like a happiness investment that keeps paying dividends.

 



Lots of studies have shown that when we regularly do kind things for others – like volunteering or just being there for someone in need – it actually boosts our mental health in the long run. So, by making giving back a regular habit, you're basically setting yourself up for a future full of smiles and less stress, anxiety and depression.

 

Acts of kindness

But here's the more interesting part: not all acts of kindness are created equal. Researchers found that when we spend our time or money directly helping others, it tends to make us happier for longer. Like, if you spend some of your weekend tutoring kids or helping out at a soup kitchen, that joy you feel can stick with you for a while. It's like a happiness upgrade that keeps on giving!

 

And get this: it's not just about what you do – it's also about how you do it. Studies found that when we're directly involved in helping others face-to-face, like mentoring or tutoring, it has a bigger impact on our own happiness compared to more indirect forms of volunteering. So, the closer you get to the action, the more happiness points you rack up!

 

So, it would appear that acts of service aren’t created equal when it comes to their impact on mental health. Engaging in hands-on, personal types of volunteering may lead to longer-lasting benefits compared to less direct forms of service. However, regardless of the type of act of service, the key takeaway is clear: acts of kindness are not just for others, but for yourself too. You're building a future full of happiness, one good deed at a time.



 

 WAYS TO SERVE: 10 SIMPLE IDEAS TO GET STARTED


volunteer
  1. Volunteer at a local charity: Whether it's serving meals at a soup kitchen or walking dogs at an animal shelter, there are tons of ways to get involved in your community.

  2. Donate to a cause you care about: Can't volunteer your time? No problem! Consider donating money or goods to organisations doing important work.

  3. Spread kindness: Small gestures can make a big difference. Pay for someone's coffee, hold the door open, or leave a positive note for a stranger.

  4. Share your skills: Got a talent or expertise? Offer it up for free to those in need. Whether it's tutoring, mentoring, or providing legal advice, your skills can make a real difference.

  5. Be a good listener: Sometimes, all someone needs is a sympathetic ear. Take the time to listen to friends, family, or even strangers who might be going through a tough time.

  6. Support local businesses: Show some love to the businesses in your community, especially those struggling during tough times.

  7. Get involved online: In today's digital world, you can volunteer from the comfort of your own home. Look for virtual opportunities like online mentoring or raising awareness about a good cause on social media.

  8. Clean up your community: Gather friends, family, or neighbours for a community clean-up day. It's good for the environment and brings people together.

  9. Check-in on others: Take the time to reach out to elderly neighbours or people who might be feeling isolated. A little companionship can go a long way.

  10. Practice gratitude: Finally, don't forget to be thankful for the opportunity to help others. Keeping a gratitude journal or reflecting on your acts of kindness can reinforce the positive impact you're making.


 

 CONCLUSION: MAKING THE WORLD BRIGHTER, ONE ACT OF KINDNESS AT A TIME


So, there you have it – serving others isn't just about making the world a better place; it's also about making yourself happier and healthier in the process. By incorporating more acts of kindness into your life, you're not only spreading positivity but also reaping the benefits for yourself. So go ahead, lend a hand, and watch how it lights up your life!

 

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Hi, I'm Mandi. A former primary teacher, Lifestyle Medicine graduate and current Diploma in Natural Skincare student with a passion for natural living.

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