Merry and Bright: How “paying it forward” can keep spirits up over the holidays
The holiday season is upon us, and while this time of year brings good tides and cheer to many, for others, it can be quite lonely. This is particularly true for Baby Boomers and seniors who live by themselves.
When family isn’t near, and friends have other plans, it is easy to feel alone and isolated. But, with a little planning, some positivity and generosity, you can greatly improve your spirits, and those of people around you too.
We’re all familiar with the saying, “it’s better to give than to receive,” and research seems to agree. From lowering blood pressure to increasing longevity, science is now confirming the health benefits of having a giving spirit!
Giving is good for the heart. It’s been found that boomers and seniors who provide social support to others have lower recorded blood pressure.
Being generous makes you happy. Research indicates that the act of paying it forward releases those feel-good endorphins that help reduce stress and increase positive feelings.
Creates an attitude of gratitude. Whether you are on the giving or receiving end, research shows that giving generates gratitude, which causes people to feel healthier, be more optimistic, and even exercise more.
Makes us social. Giving to a cause, coming together with a group to support a goal, or participating in a random act of kindness, all lead to positive social interactions. And these can lead to a better sense of community, belonging and friendship.
Instead of focusing on negative thoughts or feelings this holiday season, try to focus on the good that you can do for others. How can you make someone else’s day? Is there anything you could do that would help someone else out or make them smile? In turn, you will find your spirits begin to lift as well.
It has been found that loneliness can be contagious, but did you know the opposite is also true? Happiness spreads through social networks, meaning your happy outlook can have a positive impact on someone you’ve never even met.
So, why not buy coffee for the person behind you in line, offer to dog-sit for your neighbour who will be away, or volunteer at the local community center on Christmas? These acts of kindness – both small and large – will ease your own loneliness, and be a wonderful gift for yourself and others.
Amintro is the social app exclusively for those 50 plus. At Amintro you can meet people with similar interests online and then connect confidently offline within your community. By facilitating platonic friendships, we help you expand your social circles, keeping your social calendar full.
By Christine Tompa