Are you feeling happier? If you’ve read my last few blog posts, I’ve been covering in-depth strategies for achieving these 3 ways to greater happiness:

  • Personal development.
  • Building relationships.
  • Serving others.

 

I’ve covered the first 6 of these strategies:

  1. Heal your wounds.
  2. Fill your well.
  3. Find your purpose.
  4. Connect and make friends.
  5. Share joys and sorrows.
  6. Have fun.
  7. Share your gifts.
  8. Volunteer some of your time.
  9. Help those in need.

 

Today, I’m going over the final 3 suggestions, which all help in serving others as a means to greater happiness:

  • Share your gifts.
  • Volunteer some of your time.
  • Help those in need.

 

Ahh…your gifts.

Many people look at gifts as something given to you at birth. Whether it’s musical talent, math skill, humor, or cooking ability, you get what you get. It’s your destiny.

This common belief comes from a fixed mindset. The belief your intelligence, talents, and abilities are fixed traits. And even more damagingly, your talent is solely responsible for your success and has nothing to do with effort.

The complexity and power of our minds has and continues to be studied by psychologists, neuroscientists, economists, metaphysicists, and meditators alike.

What some of these researchers agree on is when you focus your mind in a different way, what Carol Dweck, a research psychologist from Stanford University, deems a growth mindset, you can acquire new talents and abilities, and grow your intelligence throughout your lifetime.

Your focus and effort on these endeavors, in fact, positively affects not only your outcomes, but how you think and feel about yourself.

 

Hooray!

This means your greatness can be cultivated. This means, over your lifetime, you can develop many gifts to be shared with the world.

Sharing your gifts is an active process of extending your socialization. We’re not all good at or interested in the same things. Life would be pretty boring if we were!

We can teach each other new skills and ideas. We can offer someone help with something they suck at, but we love and find easy. We can be resources to each other in a complex world where we can’t all know and do everything.

 

How does this lead to greater happiness?

When we share our gifts, we’re helping in a way that reinforces our value. When we feel valuable, we feel good and happy.

Sharing your gifts could be expressed within your family, your friend circle, at work, in your community, or on a planetary scale.

It can come through direct teaching, mentoring, expressing them through your vocation, writing, speaking, or any way you can think to pass them along.

 

Helping and serving others doesn’t only need to come through your gifts. Which brings us to my next suggestions.

Volunteer your time and help those in need.

You can volunteer your time and service without having any specific talent or ability. There are so many people and causes in need of your help and attention.

Find something that speaks to you, calls your soul, ignites your passion, makes you mad, makes you glad – moves you in some way.

The more connected you are to the causes you choose, the more invested you’ll be, and the more good you’ll end up doing.

Giving your time and your heart this way connects you more intricately to humanity and our planet.

Volunteering has been positively linked to greater happiness through numerous studies. In one study published in Social Science and Medicine, the researchers proposed that volunteering might contribute to happiness levels by increasing empathic emotions and shifting aspirations. 

I think that could very well be true. When we volunteer, we can affect change, meet goals, learn new skills, practice existing ones, and help others.

All totally positive.

You might help those in need through formal volunteering, but it can also come in other ways.

Maybe you’re there unconditionally for a friend as they go through a divorce. You help your neighbor move, help a colleague who was just laid off find another job, or loan a buddy some money when they really need it 

Whatever the help is you offer, remember to make it unconditional. If you’re only helping people to get praise or rewards, you’re missing the point.

Helping those in need, for any selfish reason beyond knowing it will help make you happier, may lead to resentment.

If this is why you help, it’s time to focus on the first lessons I shared on personal development 😉

 

All 3 ways to greater happiness support each other and are necessary parts of one whole.

When you focus on personal development, you are open and motivated to connect to others to build healthy relationships, and able to give your time and your heart in a way that truly leads to joy, not just fleeting happiness.

And joy…a deep and everlasting joy…is what greater happiness is all about.

 

What did you think of this series? Have you tried any of my suggestions? Do you have any of your own? I’d love to hear if you’re on the path to greater happiness! Leave your comments or questions below.

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