No, I’m not talking about pointing a bong towards someone’s face or handing out pills disguised as candy. I certainly don’t partake in those kinds of activities and I hope is the same for you. I’m talking about doing something legal, good for the health, and free. And it kicks butt over any drug out there in my not-so humble opinion.
ASK FOR HELP.
It might just give the other person Helper’s High.
Have you ever done something for someone else and felt really great about doing it? Maybe you helped a friend move, made a meal for an ill loved one, or even anonymously bought the coffee for the person behind you at a drive-thru. You didn’t just help them – you helped yourself too, and there’s tons of scientific, psychological, and other genres of research to support it. It’s called Helper’s High.
Allan Luks coined the term in his book The Healing Power of Doing Good which was based on national research on the benefits of volunteering. But even almost 150 years ago it was known that altruism is good for us when Darwin wrote about it in his “greatest unread book”, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex. Perhaps Darwin should really best be known for his Survival of the Kindest theory. [Mindful.org; Psychology Today]
Here are just a few of the Helper’s High benefits that can be experienced by a helper:
- Endorphins, the brain’s natural painkiller, get released, similar to exercise.
- Improves mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health; may lead to longer life spans.
- It’s good for the heart – literally and figuratively. Oxytocin levels are raised in the brain which help lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones, and strengthen the immune system. Plus, it makes people feel grateful, both the helper and the helpee.
- It may help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome of the Soul.
Yeah, I made that phrase up and it’s just my theory but a good one if I may say so myself.)
Still don’t buy into it?
Okay I’ll share a personal story with you then …
A Sunday afternoon in the spring of 1999. I’m pacing my kitchen floors, wanting to drink but also wanting to not want to drink. A few months sober by then, I’ve had a taste of the good life, a life without booze. But I feel like crap, my circumstantial life still sucks, and I want my old friend back. Now.
I recall what people had told me – call a friend, get to a church basement, go for a walk, read the blue book. The only one I am able to do in those moments is the first one, the hardest one. I’m a weakling and the phone seems to weigh 100 lbs. But I pick it up anyway and dial. They answer. Not only do they answer, they come over and spend a few hours with me until the crappy feelings and stinkin’ thinkin’ pass.
Later that evening, I’m able to get to a church basement and able to lay my head on my pillow still sober. Same for the other person although they hadn’t struggled with doing either as I had. But the other person did get high. They got a Helper’s High of tremendous impact to their life, their sobriety, their belief in a power greater than ourselves. It was months later before they told me about it and when they did, it moved both of us to tears.
I am still very close with this person. We have both stayed sober since our dry dates prior to that serendipitous Sunday afternoon in 1999. We put into action the primary purpose of our fellowship – I asked for help to stay sober, they gave me the help. One drunk helping another drunk, one of the reasons why Bill W. was listed on Time Magazine’s 100 Persons of the Century later that same year. And one of the reasons why the other person and I both still make our way to church basements on a regular basis.
HELP. It’s not a four-letter word.
Use it freely and say it to the ones you care about & who care about you.
It just might get them high.
[yeah, I know it has four letters in it but you know what I mean]