We’re hardwired to help others – it’s what’s made us so successful as a species. We’re social beings, and it’s our collaborative creed that has seen us through thousands of years of survival. On a more personal level, helping others can make us a whole lot healthier – and push us to improve.
Research shows that a single act of kindness has an ‘afterglow’ that lingers long after the deed is done. When we give without expectation of reward or recognition, when we do something selfless, we reap the rewards at a physical level. Immune-boosting chemicals flood our brain with that fist-pumping feeling you get after a killer workout. But those after-effects last way beyond that energized moment.
In study after study, subjects in a group who are given money to spend on others rather than on themselves record lowered blood pressure levels as a result. And not just marginally lowered, but dramatically so – equivalent to the effects of introducing high-impact exercise or healthy eating into your daily practice.
The act of giving gives back – to body, mind and spirit. When we give meaningfully to others, we experience enhanced self-esteem, and a real sense of agency and impact. It’s a way to connect and create communities – sustainable and sustaining support networks that bond us and bring a sense of belonging. And it’s a way to get outdoors and active, to build teams and tribes whose sole task is moving the needle for good – and that becomes a feedback loop: Do good, feel good, be good, do good, feel good.
By putting up our hands to help others out, we’re transformed in the process: we feel less disconnected; we feel we’re hooked into a higher purpose. We learn humility through helping others, and we discover a sense of perspective. Suddenly our minor moans and troubles – that daily whine we do to get through life’s small challenges – seem less overwhelming. Walk a mile in another person’s shoes and you enter a whole new world.
Doing good is cumulative and helps create a pay-it-forward culture. Not only that, research shows that people who give a damn tend to live longer, be happier, and find more meaning in their lives.
And that’s the space we thrive in at DIEMlife. We believe in turning true grit into giving, and literally walking our talk. That’s why we created A Mile in Their Shoes (AMiTS), a whole new Quest® series that lets you into the lives of those who are suffering, in order to find solutions. With a virtual race and a worthy cause connected to each Quest®, and with team-bonding tasks to take you forward each mile, you’ll soon see the results – for you and for others! Click here to find out more about AMiTS.