Paying it forward in life can boost your spirits. You may not realize that by doing nice things for others, you’re actually making yourself just as happy as them. We’ll explain how paying it forward could lead to a huge smile across your face.
Research shows that people who described themselves as “very happy” volunteered at lease five hours a month. For some, the physically active benefits of volunteering might boost their mood. For others, giving back actually gives them a dose of a neurochemical sense of reward raising their spirits. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imagine technology shows that the same areas of the brain stimulated by food and sex are stimulated by giving. This means the brain understands it’s pleasurable to make others happy by giving.
Endorphins simply make you happy. They’re the fun little chemical produced when you exercise. They also give you that feeling of being high on life. The good news is that helping others gives you this same sort of feeling. Some even call it a Helper’s High. It’s the psychological theory that acts of kindness give you an effect of a morphine high.
Put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re helping. You pay it forward. They feel seen, touched, and loved. They feel less stress, even if it’s only for a moment. This gives you a sense of satisfaction and joy. Your stress levels were lower for a little bit. Everyone involved in a simple gesture gets a dose of happiness.
Your happiness levels increase when you help others, but you may also increase your life expectancy. The end-caps of our genes are called telomeres. These caps of DNA at the ends of chromosomes are what help protect your cells from aging. Of course, they naturally wear away as time goes by. Long term stress actually shortens these end-caps to the point they can no longer protect your cells. Once they no longer protect your cells, they lead to many problems in the body. When you’re happy and positive, these end-caps may stick around a little bit longer.
Altruism Is Contagious
One of the best things about making others happy and yourself happy is that other people notice. This usually sets off a chain reaction of other kind acts. When a group observes another group doing good deeds, it’s more likely they’ll beef up their good deeds. It’s human nature. Altruism can create a ripple through schools, workplaces, communities, and beyond. One person can lead to thousands of people making a difference.
Go For Kindness
There are a million ways to pay it forward. You don’t have to make a grand gesture to help others. Find your passion through giving. Figure out what makes you happiest. It could be volunteering for a particular organization. It could be paying for someone’s coffee each day. Sometimes giving of your time means a lot more than giving your money. Don’t let anyone guilt you into giving. You’ll know when you feel paying it forward is the right thing to do. The key to finding your way to pay it forward is to find the best way that fits you. Once you do this, you’ll feel the purpose, the high, and the smile rise through your body.
Making others happy just naturally makes us happy. We’re social beings. We love with a big heart. Paying it forward might not just bring a smile to your face, it could also lengthen your life.