LIST-Building Connections Well-being

Helping others and Helping yourself

Sometimes you can lose sight of the fact that you have something to offer. Doing things for other people actually has a beneficial effect on developing our own well-being. Recent research in neuroscience shows that helping others and working cooperatively activates and strengthens certain parts of the brain, enhancing well-being.

Giving our time to others in a constructive way helps us strengthen our relationships and build new ones. Relationships with others also influence mental well-being.

Doing things to help others influences your perception of yourself and the world. The more people see you as a person with skills and abilities, the more you are able to see yourself that way.

In putting this into practice it is important to take care of yourself, to check that you are not doing this out of duty or continuing a habit of always putting others before yourself.

For some men, accepting help becomes easier if they can also do something in turn that helps someone else.

Giving can take many forms, from small everyday acts to larger commitments. Today, you could:

  • Say thank you to someone, for something they’ve done for you.
  • Phone a relative or friend who needs support or company.
  • Ask a colleague how they are and really listen to the answer.
  • Offer to lend a hand if you see a stranger struggling with bags or a pushchair.

This week, you could:

  • Arrange a day out for you and a friend or relative.
  • Offer to help someone with DIY or a colleague with a work project.
  • Sign up to a mentoring project, in which you give time and support to someone who will benefit from it.
  • Volunteer in your local community. That might mean helping out at a local school, hospital or care home. Find out more about how to volunteer.

You could put this into action in any way that suits you. It might be volunteering with a formal organization, offering to help a friend or an elderly neighbour, or making time to listen to someone you know who is having a hard time.

In helping others, take time to notice the conscious choice you made to offer assistance and consider how this fits in with the kind of person you want to be.