Here we go… another self proclaimed happiness preacher
I am sure you may have read a self help book with this title and know exactly what I am going to talk about. But honestly I don’t think you do!
Happiness can be achieved in many ways. Regular exercise, spending time outdoors, enjoying a hug or eating an 4 pack of deluxe triple chocolate cookies in one sitting… I know what suits me! However, this new one I discovered recently is so obvious that it often gets overlooked.
Whenever I would see a whiff of anxiety, or that little voice making me second guess things, my first instinct would be to run. I mean literally… go for a run, or have a bath, doing something for me. Self care, right? I feel crap so I am going to do something just for me, to make myself feel better. Reading this back I think, ‘Wow that is so wrong!’.
Well, the alternative thing to try, and I can confirm it works is: Spend some time helping someone else.
Why should I help someone else?
Whether thats making dinner for a friend, volunteering at a charity or talking to a homeless person for 5 minutes, your intention to help someone is fuel for happiness!
I recently started volunteering at the LGBT Foundation in Manchester on their helpline. It is an amazing organisation that offers advice, support and information services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) communities across the UK and the globe!
Two shifts in, and I can confirm that it is great. Firstly, getting to meet a bunch of fantastic people in the organisation, doing amazing work. Secondly to receive a tonne of training spanning across confidentiality to trans issues, and abuse.
This week I did my first 1to1 pop in with a service user (due to confidentiality I can’t say much more). I can say that I was absolutely beaming after speaking with them, it felt amazing to know I may have helped them onto a path towards feeling better!
If you don’t have the time in your day to volunteer with an organisation, perhaps you could help a family member, teach your niece something new or phone a friend who might be in need.
So, why not give it a try! Head down to your local food bank for an hour instead of binge watching Netflix all night (you could still probably squeeze an episode in before bed). Trust me you’ll feel much happier for it.
P.S. If you’re LGBTQ and need help with ANYTHING, give the LGBT foundation a call on 0345 3 30 30 30, also read my blog post on Managing your mental health if you work at a computer if you struggle with your mind.