Simple Ways to Help Others (and the Importance of It)

                A friend recently told me how he came across a woman who was down on her luck in his travels.  She told him about her situation.  Sadly enough, it is a common story of a person suffering from addiction issues, lack of a support system, health issues and other struggles.  Being in recovery himself, he had empathy for her struggles and listened to what she had to say.  He then offered to get her a hotel room for the night since she had nowhere to go.

            My friend isn’t a millionaire and I don’t tell the story to give him a pat on the back.  Instead, it is a reminder of how important helping others in life is and how it is an important part of recovery.  Most people suffering from addiction issues are self-centered with their main focus being on themselves and how to get what they want.  Helping others shifts this focus from oneself to another person’s needs.  By doing this, a person benefits from the positive psychological affects they received and by reminding them that others matter too.

            Not everyone may be in the spot where they can provide financial assistance or purchase things for others nor am I saying they should.  Here are some ideas on how you can help another today:

  • Smile at a strange – You never know what someone is going through in their life and something as simple as a smile can make a difference.
  • Say “thank you” – Encourage kind acts by saying “thank you” to someone who does something good for you.
  • Volunteer AKA Community Service– If you search around, there are many volunteer opportunities available.  You can help others suffering from addiction or other causes. 
  • Become an Advocate – Lend your talents to a cause and educate others on it.  For more information, see the mini course on advocacy available at
  • Donate – It can be money, products, food, clothes or whatever you can give.  This can be as easy as donating clothing to a local thrift store so they can raise money for a cause or donating food to a pantry.
  • Help another you see struggling – I did this just last week when I saw an older man struggling to get something into his cart.  I asked if he wanted help and he said, “That would be great.”  It helped another in need that most people were ignoring.  As I said before, it can be free things and doesn’t require spending money.
  • Create a care package – There are a number of great ideas on Pinterest for care packages and thoughtful gifts that you can create for another to lift their spirits.  One I made for a friend once was on the theme “Sorry you are blue” and included items with blue color or packaging.  Another popular one centers around the color yellow as if you are sending sunshine their way.  Other neat ones include kits you can give out to those who are homeless.
  • Help a Friend – There may be a friend in your life that has gone out of their way to help you in your time of need.  Ask them if there is a chore or project you can help them with to return the favor.  Might be simple as babysitting someone’s child so they can enjoy some personal time.

These are just a few ideas of ways to help.  I apologize for using the phrase “as simple as” repeatedly.  I just want to get across the idea that not everything requires money and can be simple tasks that just require your willingness to help and time.  Here are some other good articles I found on the subject for you to explore more options:

I hope these items help you explore how you can help others and encourage you to take action.