By Sarah Hodges

When you are down, do something for someone else

If you’re feeling down, or just want to feel a little better than you already do, try doing something for someone else. 

Maybe it’s counterintuitive. Often when we feel low, we want someone or something to help us up. For myself, I’ve found this tip to be the most effective.

Research shows that when we help others, “feel good” hormones are released in our brains. So, next time you’re feeling a little down, a little sluggish, or a little off, try making a gesture, lending a hand, doing something good for someone or something else. 

In my early twenties, I faced some heavy years of self-searching at the soul level. The downs were way down. At a certain point while deep in the “trenches”, I decided to experiment. When I felt very low, I went out of my way to bring someone else up. I was living in New York City at the time of this ‘experiment.’ On one of my low days, I walked up to a stranger and gave them a genuine compliment, which was not my normal habit at the time. It didn’t change my world in a drastic way, but I DID feel just a little bit better. I kept on with the experiment, even extending it to helping out spaces (I became a frequent silent cleaner of public spaces, just because I felt like I was helping out the “whole”, and therefore felt more connected and uplifted.)

As human beings, we thrive in connection with each other. We are truly meant to be connected, relating to each other, just as the rest of nature is in relational contact at all times. We can forget this simple truth during our day-to-day focus and survival, but a simple gesture to help out someone else can be the very thing to bring us back to that harmonious reality.

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This post is also available in: English (英語)