Reach out and get a kick in life through a helper’s high
We often feel helping others is an act for others but actually this is the best way we too can get joy. Helping others is known to be the best wellness pill of all
When I was growing up, I had a teacher who used to teach many underprivileged children in her house. She was an excellent teacher whom we all adored. As she lived close by, I used to often visit her and still remember how happy the children and she herself would be during the class. She showed me without saying this in words that serving others is the most joyful experience of all in the journey of our lives. She also told me that when such children reach a position in life, she considers this one of her greatest moments in her life. This experience has stayed with me till today. She told me that when such children reach a position in life, she considers this one of her greatest moments in her life. In the words of the writer Tolstoy said, “Joy can only be real if people look upon their life as a service and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness.”
The fact is that we are born in an interconnected world to serve each other and this indeed is the source of true happiness, whatever our external circumstances may be.
Does it help us too?
Selflessness, generosity and extending help to others is said to increase our longevity and improve our health too.ur to successfully confront the challenges we face.
In the nineteen eighties, a concept called “helper’s high” started being discussed. This phenomenon was said to release endorphins that in turn boost self-esteem.
It is proven that there is a return of a wonderful sensation when the individual remembers the action of helping others. Studies have also confirmed that the “helper’s high” is more than just a feeling for the biochemical analysis done on this showed positive changes in the body’s immune functioning and lower levels of stress hormones.
In another context, it has been seen that when an individual does something out of kindness, the mesolimbic system in the brain is refreshed and activated. This reinforces stimuli releasing “feel-good” neurotransmitters such as vasopressin and oxytocin. This gives a happy, rewarding and peaceful feeling inside, and the individual is more likely to repeat these patterns in life. Studies have also proven that the same brain area is activated while giving charity as we have when having food. This has also been stated in Brittanica.com
Seva bhav in our scriptures
Most scriptures talk about seva as a key principle to practice to make us better human beings. In India, seva (charity) and daana (charity) are taught to all of us from childhood.
This is why there is a lot of giving and philanthropy in India. Though many may not be aware, India has the greatest number of people volunteering and helping others. There are many who do philanthropy as well. Does this therefore mean that extending help to others is as important as eating and breathing to lead a complete, stress free and happy life ? As the teacher I mentioned in the beginning said, “I know I am a good teacher. Should I therefore not do this for my happiness and not just for a paycheck?”
By Jamuna Rangachari