There are some people who are intent of helping other people in their lives, whether those people are loved ones or complete strangers. These are good people; they want to help and make a difference in a meaningful way. It’s so easy to look away when someone is in need, even if by helping you wouldn’t be losing anything or affecting your life in a negative way at all. Yet as a society we do have a tendency to be selfish. This might have something to do with the prevalence of technology in our lives which can make us a lot more detached from others – literally and figuratively. The more distant we are from others, the more difficult it becomes to make a difference.
With this in mind, the more people who step out of that way of being and decide to take action to do some good in the world, the better. Perhaps you can be one of these people. If so, you might be wondering what you can do that will help someone else in a meaningful way. Don’t worry; there are many different options ranging from big life changes to small acts of kindness. Read on to find out what some of them are so you can start helping others as soon as possible.
Changing careers is a big life decision that should not be taken lightly. You’ll need to put a lot of effort into determining exactly what you want to do and why you want to do it. If you want to change your career and start fresh so that you can help people, make sure that whatever you choose is something that will make you happy as well. There is no point in helping others if you are miserable, as you’ll simply end up resenting the people you are caring for and regretting the choices you made.
If you definitely do want to change careers and you’ve chosen what you want to do, you’ll need to ensure you are able to carry out any training or obtain any qualifications that might be needed. To be a therapist, for example, you’ll need to have a Bachelor’s of Human Services which involves going back to school. If you want to be a nurse or a teacher or any kind of advocate or healthcare professional, for example, you’ll need a degree to help you do what you want to do. Are you able to spare the time and the effort – and the money – needed to do what has to be done? If so, this could be the very best way possible to help people in a meaningful way. It’s not something everyone will be comfortable doing, but if you feel it’s the right thing for you, then go ahead and make those big changes in your life to help you and so many others.
It takes effort to smile, which is why, when you’re walking down the street or driving your car or going anywhere at all, most of the people you see are not going to be smiling. Of course, this doesn’t mean they’re not happy, but the truth is that the more you smile, the happier you will be. Smiling actually tricks the brain into releasing serotonin, which is a hormone that boosts the mood.
If you smile at someone you pass, perhaps wishing them a good morning or afternoon at the same time, it’s likely they will smile back out of politeness. When they do, they’ll start to feel better – they’ll feel happier. Just by smiling at someone and being friendly, even if you don’t know them and will never see them again, you can be helping them feel better. They might then go onto smile at others, making them feel better too. Plus, you’ll feel good because you’re smiling. It’s the tiniest action, yet it really can make a big difference and help someone in a meaningful way.
There are so many ways you can make a difference when you become a volunteer. Whether it’s a long-term position at a call center or charity store or it’s a off-off or infrequent task such as giving blood, picking litter, or collecting money for a good cause, you can make a big difference by giving your time.
Think about your particular skills and the things that are important to you. If you are concerned about homelessness and you are empathetic, perhaps you could help at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. If you’re passionate about the environment there might be a way to plant trees or tidy roadsides, for example. There are dozens of things you can do, and some might be organized, and others you can do by yourself. Just make sure you are doing something that makes you happy as well as that helps others, otherwise, you won’t want to continue.
Sometimes you won’t have the time to volunteer. This is especially true if you work long hours already or you have a young family to take care of, for example. Maybe you’re not well, and although you’d love to help out, you know that you just can’t due to physical limitations. Don’t become upset about this; you can donate to charity instead. This will be extremely helpful, and it can have a meaningful impact on many people, including yourself.
Start by looking around your home and determining what you no longer need. This is an ideal way to declutter and tidy up while at the same time helping others. Next, take a box around and put anything into it that you no longer want or need. Then, assuming it’s in good condition, you can take these items to a charity and donate them. They will sell them on, and the money will go to whatever cause they stand for.
Alternatively (or as well as), you can donate money. You can set up a monthly payment to your favorite charity, ensuring that you give something on a regular basis. If this isn’t possible, then have a collection tin for a small change in your home. Once it’s full, you can donate that – every penny is important, so don’t worry if it doesn’t seem to be very much, as it will still be helpful.
If you want to give more and are willing to make some changes in your life, there are additional ways to donate money. The first is by doing something – perhaps a sponsored silence or a bungee jump or a marathon – and raising money than donating it to charity. The second is by going without. If there is something you want to buy, but you don’t actually need it, use the money you would have spent and give that to charity instead. Not only will you be helping others, but you will keep your home clearer and less cluttered too.
Gifts are lovely, and it’s great to receive them on your birthday, at Christmas, or for any other reason. Yet when you look around, is there anything you really need? Will the things you want actually bring you happiness? It might be that, although you think that receiving gifts is making you happy, it’s not really, and a different approach would be better.
You could simply tell people not to give you anything, but you know yourself how good it feels to give something to someone you care about, and even if they tell you not to worry about buying them something, you’ll still want to do it to show you care. So of course, even if you tell people not to buy you anything, it’s likely they still will. So instead of this, why not redirect your gifts? In other words, let people know that if they want to get you something, you would rather the gift – or the money they would have spent on the gift – went to charity instead. You might even name the specific charity you want to benefit; this will help them even more. In this way, the charity will receive a donation, you won’t end up with gifts you don’t really need, and the gift giver will still be able to enjoy buying – or donating – on your behalf.
Stop To Help
All kinds of people need help in all kinds of ways every day. If you want to help people, your first instinct might be to go straight for charitable giving and volunteering or, as we’ve discussed, make the ultimate change and start a new career in a sector known for helping as many people as possible.
However, it’s important to remember that as much as these things will certainly help people and will be good things to do, there are many ways you can help in much smaller but equally as significant ways too. You might see someone struggling with their shopping bags, for example, or trying to cross a busy street. Someone might have broken down at the side of the road, and you can offer them the use of your phone or help them change a tire. You can give someone the extra change they need to pay for their shopping or parking. You can do so many things when you are looking for opportunities to help.
It is this that will make you stand apart from others. Most of the time, most people will not be thinking of others – this is just a natural state; we all have a lot to deal with in our own lives, after all. However, if you can look around – literally in some cases – and spot those who just need a little more help to do something or achieve something in their everyday lives and you can offer that help, then you should do it. Try to do one good thing every day, and you can be sure you’re truly making a difference in other people’s lives. You might even inspire them to go on and help others in turn, so the cycle of kindness continues.
You don’t have to become a teacher to teach people. If you have a particular skills in something – it could be anything, from knitting to gardening, from running to mechanics, and so much more – then why not pass those skills on to others?
This doesn’t need to be anything formal, although you can certainly start your own class teaching people useful or fun skills. You might just notice that someone you know doesn’t know how to do something, and you teach them how to do it. In that way, you will be doing something kind and helping someone else. These skills will then ensure that the person you are teaching can do more, move forward in their live, or achieve something they’ve always wanted to do. You never know what doors you can open when you give someone a new skill, and if you already have the knowledge, then passing that knowledge on to someone else is not going to hurt you but will certainly benefit them.
Sometimes people won’t know how to ask for help, and this is often the case when thy are grieving. Losing a loved one or receiving an upsetting diagnosis is going to be upsetting, and can turn someone’s world upside down, but they won’t necessarily know who to turn to or how to deal with their emotions. Although as we’ve said, you might choose to become a professional counselor and help people through talking therapy as your career, you don’t have to have qualifications to help a loved one – or even a stranger – if they just need a shoulder to cry on and someone to listen to them. You might not be able to offer much in terms of advice if you’re not qualified, but you will be able to offer them comfort, and this is something that will help them hugely. Just having someone there to listen, even if they don’t say anything, can be enough, since letting your feelings and emotions out is a big part of the healing process after a shock such as a death in the family. Listen and comfort as much as you can, and you will be making a massive difference in someone’s life.