Think back to a time where you were sincerely grateful for someone’s help. How did you feel? Try to remember the relief that soothed you. What do you think it would feel like if you could provide that kind of feeling to someone else?
If this is your first time joining us, WELCOME! We’re so glad you found us! Vincent and I are the Relationship Helpers. We are Christian therapists who help people find the change they need in their lives. In today’s episode, we are going to talk about how helping others can help to ameliorate depression and anxiety symptoms.
About the Series
But before we discuss how helping helps depression, we want to give a brief re-cap on the previous episodes of this series. Today’s episode marks the final episode in a ten-part series on “101 Activities You Can Do to Improve Your Mood.” Be sure to check out our episodes on God, exercise, slowing down, fun, animals and nature, socializing, aesthetics, creating and learning, and touch and smell.
Each of these episodes is a theme for over one hundred activities we have compiled. With each theme we provide interesting studies and research on why these activities are beneficial to our health and well-being.
Each week we have looked at these activities from the perspective of Philippians 4:8 (think on whatever is true, noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report.) Today’s activities fall under all of those things!
In Galatians 6: 2, we are told to carry one another’s burdens to fulfill the law of Christ. If you have been isolating yourself lately due to poor motivation and negative thinking, helping people can be a wonderful way to get your mind in a more productive state. If you are lost on how to get started, today’s list provides all sorts of creative ways to get started.
18. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Volunteering provides you with opportunities to serve someone else. You get your mind off of YOU – when we are too focused on ourselves, we become anxious and maybe depressed. Volunteering at a soup kitchen allows you to focus on others’ needs and in return you benefit. Larry Crabb says, “The more that you learn to love like God, the more your joy increases.” Here are some tips when you go.
27. Pay for someone’s meal at a restaurant anonymously. Being kind elevates self-esteem and can lower the effects of psychological disorders.
30. Teach a child how to read. Reading with children improves parent-child communication, raises self-esteem, lowers anxiety/stress and increases empathy.
37. Visit shut-ins at the nursing home. By visiting a shut-in, you not only minister to them, but they minister to you as well. You learn to slow down, focus on someone else, and give love.
61. Volunteer with the Boy (or Girl) Scouts. Studies have shown that volunteering has been linked to lower blood pressure and less symptoms of depression. Volunteering not only helps you, but also helps the ones you are working with.
65. Pick up trash on a local road. This is a great way to be a part of the community and meet new people. Along with meeting other civic-minded people, you get some good exercise as well.
75. Make a baby laugh. Children laugh more than adults. Adults have a tendency to be more serious. By intentionally making a child laugh, you are engaging in a social activity that is light-hearted and has many health and mental health benefits. You will be more likely to laugh if you make a baby laugh. Laughter strengthens resilience, which is an important strength in coping. It is a great stress-reliever and can lessen the symptoms of anxiety.
77. Buy a loved one flowers. Performing random acts of kindness can improve our emotional wellbeing.
100. Compliment someone on their appearance. Studies indicate that people with social anxiety are less likely to give compliments. Learning to give compliments helps begin conversations, builds connections with others, and lowers anxiety.
You were probably surprised at our list, weren’t you?! Hopefully there were things on it you had never considered, but find worth doing! We hope that you enjoyed today’s episode, and this ten-part series. It has been great fun learning about so many activities we can do to improve our moods. We’ve learned a lot through the process, and hope you have too!
Be sure to check out our resources page by clicking on the link below. We have downloadable and printable PDFs of each episode, the categories, and the full list.