“If you want other to be happy, practice compassion. if YOU want to be happy, practice compassion”
-The Dalai Lama
Here are some interesting facts I pulled out of this months Success Magazine according to a May report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here are some interesting facts for the years 1999-2010
Suicide in adults age 35-64 rose 28.4%
it rose 48.6% for men in their 50’s
it also rose 59.7% for women age 60-64
So what solution does this article recommend for this issue? Altruism, or simply put, helping others. I know to a lot of you this may sound “new age-ish” but let me assure you it is not. Shawn Achor, author of the book Before Happiness and author of the article cites recent positive psychology research. I am going to cite not so recent Neil past events. There was a time a few years back my life was a mess, my job at the post office was in limbo at best, my relationship had ended and I just seemed more depressed every day. Now of course this is before I started researching and applying lots of the knowledge on display here and in my new book. Back to that time however, I didn’t know which way to go. My friends and family had grown tired of listening to my “woe is me” attitude and quite frankly, so did I. So seeing the post office didn’t care to use my talents I decided to head down to the meal program I helped at once a month. It was not the day that I normally helped, but figured they could always use an extra hand. That simple decision impacted my life dramatically. First, it put in prospective my problems. I still had a job, albeit barely. I was healthy. I had a roof over my head. the people we served that day could only make claim to a few of those, some not even one. Not only that, their expressions of gratitude and genuine wishes of goodwill for me were overwhelming. By the end of the day not only had I pretty much forgotten about my problems I was feeling grateful and even happy. Seeing that you can make someone else smile has a profound effect. Looking back that may have been the beginning of my passion to serve and help others. Which was later brought to the forefront by my amazing friends Carmen and Alyssa. (More on them tomorrow.) The great thing about helping others is it really is one situation in life that is win/win. When you bring joy or just simply a smile to the heart of another person they obviously feel good, but seeing that reaction and knowing you played a part in it brings a joy like nothing I have ever experienced. you do not have to help at a meal program or a shelter to have this effect. Notice people who do not normally receive a lot of compliments. try giving them a sincere and kind word or maybe even just a smile and hello. When, at Christmas time, the post office becomes the personification of chaos I cannot begin to tell you how much the words “Thank you for your hard work during the holiday season” mean. Not to mention all the homemade cookies and candy! So perhaps a kind word to a busy cashier, or an extra tip for a busy waitress this weekend. You may not stay to see the results, but knowing you had a positive effect on a person’s day can make your day as well. So go ahead and be kind for selfish reasons. If we all were this world would be an amazing place!