Today’s hectic world can sometimes seem ruthless and uncaring. Particularly if you live a busy life with many demands on your time and attention, it is understandable that you might feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities. Even if you have a loving family, a successful career, and good health, life can still get on top of you. Strong mental health takes practice and patience, which often makes it seem out of reach for people who have too much on their plate. However, you can be more effective and a lot happier if you take the time to focus on your own mental well-being. Taking care of yourself can come in the form of caring for others. This is where generosity comes in.
What Is Generosity?
Generosity isn’t just about giving people what you have. It is also about being open and available while maintaining your own healthy boundaries. You can be generous by listening or being there for someone, as well as by resisting the temptation to judge someone for their actions or thoughts.
Common Mental Health Problems and Their Connection to Generosity
Depression is unfortunately a very common mental health issue that approximately five percent of adults experience at some point in their lives. It is a serious illness that should be treated by a professional, so if you are experiencing symptoms, then it is important that you seek advice and assistance. Although it is a hugely complex and varied illness that manifests in different ways depending on the individual, studies have shown that acts of generosity can help improve the mood of someone with depression. Being able to concentrate on something other than the inner self is a good way of distracting the mind from personal issues. Similarly, people who suffer from anxiety can find relief in channeling their energy into helping others.
Ways You Can Be More Generous
It is all very well describing how generosity can improve your mental well-being, but it is also useful to have some ways of enacting this in your own life. Perhaps you can already think of a few ways that you can spend some time focusing on being generous and enjoying the satisfaction that comes with helping others. If not, here are a few examples of how you can improve the lives of others while improving your own mental health.
A good starting point for becoming more consciously and deliberately generous is to make the people around you feel appreciated. If you share your home with family or loved ones, demonstrate this appreciation through small acts of generosity, such as helping them out without being asked or expecting their gratitude. The satisfaction of being generous shouldn’t come from anticipating thanks but rather knowing that you have made other people’s lives better, even if they don’t know it was you. Cultivating this type of generosity can take time since many of us are conditioned to expect praise or appreciation for the kindness, so don’t feel disheartened if it doesn’t immediately bring you satisfaction.
Acts of Giving
While it is always beneficial to yourself and others when you show generosity to the people in your vicinity, it is also good for your mental health to give to people you don’t know. Being charitable and putting time into helping people in need can bring you a great feeling of meaning and purpose, which is often lacking when someone experiences depression. While some people might participate in these acts of giving and charity in order to gain social credibility and praise, it is important to remember that mental health benefits come from being selfless rather than self-conscious. You could set up a regular bank transfer to a charity of your choice or provide unneeded belongings to homeless shelters. You could donate to veterans or crisis aid charities. There are many different ways that you can support a worthy cause by giving.
Giving your time is a practical way of being more generous. Using your free time to strive toward making the world better is one of the best ways that you can improve your mental health through generosity. Find a cause that you care about and consider spending some of your time volunteering.
Patience with Others
A subtle yet impactful way of being a more generous person in life is by having calm patience for other people. There will be many times when someone you know or a stranger makes a decision or says something that you find irritating or unreasonable. Extend your generosity to them by resisting the urge to contradict or argue with them. Instead, take a pause and think about what led them to make their decision. This kind of empathy can help you remain calm in stressful situations since it gives you the ability to stay in control of your reactions.
There are plenty of other ways that you can introduce more generosity into your life to improve the world around you and your mental well-being. It just takes time to find what’s right for you.