Why good things happen to people who “Pay it forward”

Daily, we are confronted by the pain and suffering of others, not just on TV, but on the streets and in our own network of friends and family and most of us tend to feel powerless and unable to make a difference.

We feel like small powerless fragments in an infinite Universe, so when we think about all the things that are going wrong in the world and what it would require for us to fix just one percentage of all the suffering and pain, we get overwhelmed, frustrated and exhausted. Even just to improve and change some of the negativity that is showing up in our day-to-day life, can seem like an enormous challenge and like a huge mountain we would have to climb in the hopes of ever seeing any changes happen.

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Small acts/steps are better than none…

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“A little progress every day adds up to BIG results” – Satya (Refers to a virtue in Indian religion and is also a Sanskrit word for truth)

To eliminate the barrier and frustration of looking at the bigger picture/problem and lower the risk of overwhelm, we need to instead locate the small solutions to the bigger problem and start identifying what we can do to help change the world. One step at the time.

A positive change can be initiated be the smallest action. All you need to do is look around you and locate one external action you can take in order to create an improvement in someone else’s life. Also, called “Paying it forward”.

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A walk in the park

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Just imagine you take a walk in the park. A teenage boy is sitting on the grass practicing his guitar. He repeats the same part over and over again in an attempt to nail that one impossible cord and finish the song he’s been trying to master in order to impress everybody at school next week (Naturally, you don’t initially know his story or his circumstances, but you see him struggling). As lucky as it might seem you are a gifted guitar player (or at least you believe so yourself), and you do know how to nail that note. Do you walk on by and let him deal with the frustration by himself or do you offer him your guidance and time, to show him how it’s done. Saving him frustration and time and helping him become the Rockstar he wants to be in front of his class mates?

Not only do you make a difference in that boy’s day/week and maybe life, but you also help create a small ripple of positivity in the world… and you lower your own risk of depression and stress.

There are many different variations of doing good/paying it forward/helping others, and it turns out it’s not only the person or group you are helping that reap the benefits, everyone involved (even you) get to enjoy the benefit of doing good. More on that below!

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10 amazing external and internal benefits of doing good

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  1. You help increase someone else’s happiness.
  2. You create a foundation for a bridge between old social barriers and create connections.
  3. Giving back increases your own happiness. In a 2006 study, Jorge Moll and colleagues at the National Institute of Health found that your brain lights up on MRI scans when you help others (also called the “Helper’s high), and according to the same researchers, pain, depression and disability decreased in patients with chronic pain after they volunteered.
  4. You help ease the challenge in someone’s life.
  5. The theory of “Paying it Forward” says that if you receive or observe an act of help/kindness, you become more likely to help others, even if your own action won’t be directly reciprocated or rewarded. Rather than repay someone for helping, you “Pay it Forward”.
  6. Researchers at Texas University and in other places have also found out that volunteering helps decrease depression.
  7. Researchers from University of California in Los Angeles have found that volunteering helps you live longer.
  8. You cause a ripple effect of positivity, setting off chains of generosity.
  9. Teenagers who volunteer are happier and more optimistic, get better grades and use less drugs.
  10. If you volunteer your time, you meet people of all walks of life and chances are you get new friends.

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Feel inspired to act?

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Giving back or paying it forward can be done in many, different ways/levels and everyone can create his/her own ripple of positivity.

You can offer your disabled neighbor some help to get out for a walk in the park or do some shopping for him or her. You can get your colleague a cup of coffee. You can clean out your closet and donate the pieces you don’t need any more to charity. Offer your help next time you see somebody who needs it or write a personal note on a few dollar bills and place them somewhere where others can find them, like between books in a library.

Was anything on this post news to you and are you interested in giving back to the community or “Paying it forward”? Maybe you already contribute your time and energy to people or organization’s that need it? Leave a comment below! I would love to hear your thoughts or experiences on this. Let’s start a conversation!

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With Love and happiness,

Lise

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Resources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satya

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/5_ways_giving_is_good_for_you

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201311/will-good-things-happen-when-you-pay-it-forward

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/opinion/sunday/the-science-of-paying-it-forward.html

 

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