Scientific study discovers the key to joy

As I hear the refrain, “the most wonderful time of the year,” the song and season cheer my heart and turn my thoughts to others. For various reasons – religious, moral or traditional, I think people try to be a little kinder in December. They also volunteer more of their time and share more of their wealth during the last month of the year. According to a growing body of research, it may benefit not just their souls, but their mind and body as well.

A recent article in Psychological Bulletin reports on a meta-study that analyzed the findings of 200 previous studies of more than 200,000 participants. According to the meta-study’s lead author Bryant P.H. Hui, prosocial behaviors such as altruism, cooperation, trust, and compassion also contribute to mental and physical health of those who engage in them.

But, we already suspected that, right? I mean, who hasn’t had a warm, personal experience when helping another who was truly in need?

Dr. Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at Wharton and author of “Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, was quoted in 2020 in a New York Times article, “The Science of Helping Out,” saying the following:

“There is a lot of evidence that one of the best anti-anxiety medications available is generosity. The great thing about showing up for other people is that it doesn’t have to cost a whole lot or anything at all, and it ends up being beneficial to the giver.”

Many organizations have taken note and facilitate volunteering and giving among their employees.

As I read about these scientific findings, I couldn’t resist the urge to share them in a blog post. They resonate so strongly with what I have learned through personal experience:  there’s only one way to attain true and lasting joy, and that is by helping others. It’s one thing to tell others that, but we all know that the most powerful persuasion comes from practicing what you preach.  

Which compelled me to ask myself, what more could I do?

I already volunteer my time on a weekly basis. I also donate a portion of my income to a charitable cause each month, but the inspiration I received from reading this study was I needed to do a little more, and this time for my readers. As a communications consultant, my time and advice are the most valuable thing I have to offer. So, in my own little way, I am offering you, my reader, a single 30-minute video conference consultation per person for free with no strings attached. During the next 12 months, if you take me up on my offer, you might get 30 minutes of the following services for free:

  • Media training session to prepare for a big interview
  • Coaching for an important presentation or speech
  • Crisis communications advice
  • Brand messaging session
  • Media relations strategy session
  • LinkedIn makeover session

The person who wants a single 30-minute session for free only needs to DM me via LinkedIn.

To anyone reading this post, I invite you to make a similar offer to your clients, colleagues and friends. I’m not asking you to bankrupt your business. Just find a way to offer your help to others, especially in the area of your professional expertise. As I give away some of my time this year, I plan to post updates on my experiences. I invite you to do the same and then tag me so I and others can share in the joy you feel.

It’s my way of celebrating Christmas and following Christ’s admonition to serve others: “Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…” (Mark 10:41-45)

To those who celebrate it, I wish you a Merry Christmas! To those who recognize other holidays, I hope your celebrations are filled with warmth and love this year! To everyone, I wish you peace and fulfillment and hope to hear from you soon with a request for help that I might fill.

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