From the Base
Helping others connects us with people, it creates a greater sense of belonging and community. It makes us feel that we belong to something, which is good for ourselves as well as others and helps to build a happier society.
Giving could be money, but is also our ideas and expertise, our time and energy. Examples include volunteering at community events, being on a committee or a planning group, being a school governor or a sports coach.
The temptation is to think we don’t have time – but what this is really about is considering what we can contribute. Right now you might be time short, so find another way to contribute. Perhaps the whole family can do something together? At another point in your life, you may be able to contribute in a different way.
Last week I referred to the book Tribe that I have been reading. The author refers to the fact that one of the leading factors of poor mental health in modern society is the detachment from community that many people feel. It is possible to live a modern life in complete social isolation, never actually having to engage with people. Whilst modern life has many benefits, growing evidence shows that most of us cannot exist happily without being part of something greater; we need to belong, to have a place and to be valued for what we can contribute.
Giving is great example of what makes us complex creatures. There is no immediate benefit to ourselves from giving; rather, we are investing in the future and the wellbeing of ourselves and others. There is an evolutionary advantage to be part of a group that will do things for others, but we also get the psychological lift that we call happiness.