During the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve all become disconnected from friends, families and organizations we’ve always relied on. At the same time, we’ve grown increasingly concerned about our loved ones, our personal wellbeing, and our financial stability.
But something amazing is also happening.
People are asking each other, “What can I do to help?” It is heartwarming to see so many friends, families and strangers reaching out in loving acts of kindness to help one another, every single day.
Look around. Have you noticed how many of your neighbors are quietly helping others? To get groceries (and toilet paper!) for an at-risk neighbor who shouldn’t leave their home, to run an important errand, to buy a friend an unexpected meal from a struggling neighborhood restaurant, to lean out their window and join hundreds of others to cheer for our local hospital workers as they depart the end of a long, difficult day.
Paying It Forward
Earlier this month, a Boston police officer found a young mother sitting, crying on the sidewalk in front of a grocery store. Her card had declined and she could not pay for her groceries. Officer Ben Peguero went into the store with her and bought $200 worth of food for her family. She then paid it forward by making dinner for three others who could not afford to eat.
Just a few days ago as I was letting the dog out back, I heard music loudly echoing above the rooftops. I stopped to listen and hum along to “Sweet Caroline.” As I tried to identify the male voice accompanied by a folk guitar and simple percussion, I realized this was a live performance.
It was coming from the Senior Memory Center a block from my house. And the three windows I could see from my deck were open with residents looking out and enjoying the music. It warmed my heart.
It turns out that helping others feels good! Giving to others, whether through donations or volunteering, eases stress and produces many of the mental and physical health benefits associated with exercise. Altruism actually produces endorphins, creating a sense of well-being.
The benefits of giving and helping others…
- Helps strengthen the immune-system.
- Decreases both the intensity and the awareness of physical pain.
- Activates emotions that are vital to maintaining good health.
- Reduces negative attitudes, such as chronic hostility, that arouse and damage the body.
- Provides stress release which has multiple benefits to the body’s systems.
- Provides a “helper’s high,” a rush of euphoria, followed by a longer period of calm, after performing a kind act.
- This initial rush from the “helper’s high” is followed by a longer-lasting period of improved emotional well-being.
- Releases the body’s natural painkillers, the endorphins as part of the “helper’s high.”
- Helps people survive and heal from tragic or challenging events. Survivors of tragic or life changing experiences reveal that altruism-the unselfish concern for others-is a common survival strategy.
Seeing acts of kindness inspire others to reach out in kindness. This “pay it forward” effect is wonderfully contagious! You know it’s working when you see the smile on the face of someone you’ve just helped.
Take a moment. Make someone smile!
* If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out to us at the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias (NFED) at 618-566-2020 or contact us. We are here for you!