Feeling stressed? The remedy may be lying in helping others, according to a new study. Providing help to friends, acquaintances and even strangers can mitigate the impact of daily stressors on our emotions and our mental health, according to the Yale University School of Medicine research.
“Our research shows that when we help others we can also help ourselves,” explains study author Emily Ansell, adding “Stressful days usually lead us to have a worse mood and poorer mental health, but our findings suggest that if we do small things for others, such as holding a door open for someone, we won’t feel as poorly on stressful days.”
We often turn to others for social support when we’re feeling stressed, but these new results suggest that proactively doing things for others may be another effective strategy for coping with everyday worries and strains.
“The holiday season can be a very stressful time, so think about giving directions, asking someone if they need help, or holding that elevator door over the next month,” Ansell adds. “It may end up helping you feel just a little bit better.”
The study is published in Clinical Psychological Science.