Stressed? You could relax with a bath, massage, or yoga session. Better yet: run a bath for your roommate, give your guy a massage, or drop a friend off at her yoga class. People who help others are less likely to die after stressful events, according to a study recently published in American Journal of Public Health.
The best part: you don’t need to save the world, spend a ton, or go too far out of your way to reap the benefits. Just do something that’s local (read: convenient), enjoyable, and complementary to your skill set, says Bill Coplin, Ph.D., author of How You Can Help: An Easy Guide to Doing Good Deeds in Your Everyday Life and director of the public affairs program at Syracuse University. Begin with these five ways to do unto others as you’d want done unto you:
Be the designated driver
Get behind the wheel on girls’ night out, and you’ll save everyone cash on cab fares. Even better: you’ll save yourself from high-calorie cocktails and the hangover sure to follow.
Pack a coworker’s lunch
Love to cook? Double your most delicious dinner recipe, and bring the leftovers to share with an officemate to give her a break from her own brown bag or typical takeout.
Split supersized groceries
At value stores like Costco or BJs, you get a lot more for your money–and a lot more in general. Instead of overstuffing your pantry, offer to split your bill and bounty with a neighbor. Chances are, her kids will eat the two extra pounds of grapes that you typically let ferment in your fridge.
Turn your hobbies into help
Want to practice your amateur photography skills, or use your social media prowess for greater good? Create a profile at Catchafire.org, a site that links professionals to nonprofit organizations that need a hand with anything from designing a new logo to bookkeeping, or planning an event.
Bring your pet to see some grandparents
After a trip to the vet or groomer, swing by the nearest nursing home and take Sparky for a stroll. Your pup will make every animal-lover’s day–and relish the extra attention.
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