Did you know that helping others without expectation, also known as Altruism, can boost your happiness and success? Research shows that when you help others—smile, hold open a door, volunteer, listen with empathy—you will tend to have reduced stress, greater mental well-being, less physical illness, and even a longer life. Not only that, but when you help others, it becomes contagious and others “pay it forward”—creating a society of giving people who help each other and spread loving energy. In times of trouble and turmoil, giving is often the best remedy to what ails us. Here are some ways you can become more altruistic and create a positive impact in your life and the lives of others:
*Increase your empathy. Empathy is when you put yourself in the shoes of another—when you see life as they see it; feel life as they feel it. Empathy is a beautiful thing. In fact, the more empathetic you are, the more altruistic you are likely to be. The more you see another person’s point of view, their joys and suffering, the more you will want to help them. Try this: On a daily basis, ask people questions about their life dreams and what bothers them (and what makes them happy)—listen carefully to their answers. Maybe that waitress you see regularly tells you that she is a single mom who is struggling at working two jobs to make ends meet. Perhaps, your car mechanic confides that he is a devoted son who is caring for his dying elderly parents. Put yourself in the mindset of others, and you will have a stronger desire to help them and relieve their suffering, also known as having compassion.
*Give what you do best. If you want to volunteer for a charitable or humanitarian cause or organization, give based on your best talent. If you’re not good at working with your hands, then perhaps helping to build a house for homeless people may not be the best use of your talents. But, if you’re good with numbers or words, you can help with the organization’s needs for accounting or writing press releases. Think about your best skill and give that to others. You may be a good writer, teacher, organizer, or caretaker; maybe you’re good with numbers or working with your hands. Whatever your skills or talent is, donate that to help others. You will feel better when you give something you’re good at, and you will be more effective in giving something of value to others.
*Imagine giving love without expectation. Try this exercise: Imagine that you are smiling and giving loving energy to the most beloved person(s) in your life, perhaps your spouse or children. See them smiling and laughing—expressing joy and love to you in return. Next imagine smiling with love toward your close friends, acquaintances, and even strangers. Visualize them smiling and laughing as they send joy and positive energy your way. As you do this, you will start to fill your heart with joyful and loving energy, and you will be more inspired and motivated to help others.
*Help one person each day. Now go out and help people—strive to help at least one person every day. Your altruistic act can be as small as smiling, holding open a door, or paying someone a sincere compliment. Perhaps, you will give advice, money, energy, or time. Or you can offer one of the greatest gifts of all: Listening with love and acceptance to someone who is in pain. Your loving and accepting presence may be exactly what they need for their healing process to begin.
Remember: the more altruistic you are—the more you give to others without expecting anything in return—the stronger and more loving you will become. You will realize that you have an abundance of love and energy to give, and you will find that the universe will often reciprocate and give back to you great benefits in the form of love and material and spiritual help, as well as favorable circumstances. It’s simple: All the world loves a giver, and the giver loves all the world. Start today and join the Love University Altruism Team of loving individuals. Decide that you will make a positive difference every day of your life and you will have everything you need.