Yesterday’s post focused on getting out of our own way and asking for help when we are in need. Today, I want to talk about how you can be a help — a blessing, a rainbow in someone’s cloud.
Growing up we were taught not to be selfish, to share and be generous — to help one another. “Love your neighbor”.
Mother Teresa, just canonized as a saint by the Pope said:
Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.
Now, we are learning with scientific research in neuroscience that helping others actually helps us — it makes us happy.
How to be Happy is About Helping Others
Judy is a 50 year old caretaker for my Down Syndrome son, Bob. Judy is a Christian and she has a boatload of problems that would drown many people in despair. Her faith helps to anchor her and give her life direction.
Her past has involved a bout with spousal abuse, followed by a stint in a homeless shelter. And within the last year she had a double mastectomy due to breast cancer. Judy has PTSD and struggles through life a day at a time.
But, she is rich in spirit! She wears a smile on her face and is a very happy woman. Judy is an inspiration to me just to observe how well she copes.
She looks for and finds ways to help those who touch her life. She is generous and finds tremendous satisfaction and purpose in life.
Judy might offer help with decorating, or cooking. She will save little remembrances or bits of advice to give to someone who might put them to good use. Judy plans her time with Bob to make it a time of joy for him — because it makes her happy to see the joy in his face.
Will being a rainbow make you happy?
The evidence is an overwhelming Yes! Linda Fried, a professor of public health at Columbia University Medical Center, says
“We’ve added 30 years to human life expectancy in this country over the past 100 years. What will it take to keep people healthy and happy in these longer lives? Well, there is actually a burgeoning amount of evidence that there are a number of factors.”
Professor Fried points to being physically active and socially active as solutions. Volunteer work helps us both ways and gives many people a deeper sense of meaning in their lives.
I saw a short video recently by Dr. Maya Angelou. She brought a rainbow into my life as I watched it. Dr. Angelou says it all in a short clip.