Charity, Helping Others and Healing Ourselves

The United Nations marks September 5th every year as the ‘International Day of Charity‘, a day for awareness about philanthropy and the ways in which the world can do more good. There is a beautiful history rooted in this day:

“Charity, like the notions of volunteerism and philanthropy, provides real social bonding and contributes to the creation of inclusive and more resilient societies. The International Day of Charity was established with the objective of sensitizing and mobilizing people, NGOs, and stakeholders all around the world to help others through volunteer and philanthropic activities.” [United Nations]

There is a great feeling we get when we help someone else, and philanthropy is a great exercise in general, but that phrase you hear Kim and Theo mention, “helping is healing”, is actually scientifically true.

The “feel-good” chemicals in our body, dopamine and oxytocin, become active when we’re engaged in helping. Kim Barthel says that these chemicals turn on the parts of our DNA that help us to become healthier, more resilient and increase our ability to cope with stress.

“Although it might seem like doing nice things for others is only altruistic, ultimately we are also helping ourselves greatly in the process.” — Kim Barthel 

There are many ways you can open the door to healing through helping: giving back in your community, inspiring someone else suffering to come forward by sharing your story, or simply taking part in the ongoing conversation about trauma and healing.

“What I’m finding is that when I’m able to give back, it’s making a difference. And that’s giving me more than just dopamine hits.” — Theo Fleury, from ‘Conversations with a Rattlesnake’ 

Helping is a beautiful way to make way for a breakthrough in your healing, while possibly aiding another on their journey to heal as well.

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