The world is full of bad news. Everyone has a negative experience to share, our news feeds are overloaded with bad news and… talking about news, well, let’s not even go there. People are stuck in their own individual journeys, dealing with their own individual burdens, and to a certain extent that is okay, but every now and then we should look outside ourselves and see how we can help others.

Helping others will make you happy

We’ve often been told that helping others makes us happy, but what does the research say? Mark Snyder, psychologist and head of the Center for the Study of the Individual and Society at University of Minnesota states that ‘volunteering’, for instance, is a surprising phenomena since it goes against the internal human dynamic of self-interest. And yet 1 in 3 adults (in the US) participate in volunteer work in an ongoing basis.

One of the greatest presumptions for helping others without a tangible reward, according to Snyder, is that volunteering improves self-esteem, psychological well-being, happiness and even longevity. Jane Allyn Piliavin, a former sociologist at the University of Wisconsin, cites that volunteering even aids at-risk children – improving their grades and attitudes towards education as well as lowering the incidence of drug abuse and teen pregnancies.

Research by social psychologist Liz Dunn which was published in the journal Science has proven that our need for giving is so great, our happiness improves exponentially when we spend more on others than we do on ourselves. This research was conducted across all income levels, which means giving in order to improve happiness is a universal theme.

How can you help?

The interesting thing about the hardships we go through is that it gears us with a unique perception and provides us with the tools to help others in similar positions.

Are you an expat living abroad? Why not assist those in a similar situation to you? Have you gone through divorce, miscarriage, death of a family member, death of a pet, sequestration, retrenchment, chronic illness, near-death experience, abuse or experienced violence? Then you surely know how hard it is to cope – and your story could be invaluable to someone else. Do you have unique talents or resources which could be beneficial to others? You could be a part time maths tutor, put your skills to use to make others financially savvy, assist in local gardening or feeding projects, read books to children at your local orphanage or assist in skills development for the underprivileged. Perhaps you have contacts who can help others – doctors, lawyers, agents, vets, accountants, teachers, psychologists, pastors. Who knows, your referral could save a life, save a marriage or at least ease the burden of one individual.

Thing is, there are a myriad ways to help others, and in doing so – you will help yourself and get a bit of the good news out there. And once the good news gets a-going, who knows where it may end? Paying it forward could see to it that you or your children will one day receive in your time of need.

Where should you start?

Obviously no one can prescribe where, how and to whom you should give or assist. A good start would be to reflect and think of what you have to offer as well as how it will affect your family and your work. Be realistic about what it is you can do to help others.

If you are unsure, why not visit some online forums in your area – these could be expat forums, craft groups, animal rescue groups, non-profit organisations and so forth. See what people’s needs are and where your skills or knowledge could be useful. If you don’t find someone in these groups and have a particular skillset, trade or type of individual you would like to assist, then why not enquire with your friends? You could be the catalyst to a great community of givers who volunteer their time, money or knowledge to others. The great part about technology is that you’ll be able to assist almost anyone, whoever they may be, with whatever they may need.

Six degrees of separation

If the theory of six degrees of separation is correct, you may even end up helping a friend, or that stranger you are dealing with probably knows someone you do. The 1929 theory set out by Frigyes Karinthy postulates that every person is six or fewer steps away from any other person in the world (through some kind of relation) by way of a ‘chain of friend of a friend’. This means that any two people can be connected to each other through a maximum of six steps or connections.

In fact, according to the Daily Mail, Facebook has shrunk the degrees from one person to the next to 4.78. This means you may inadvertently end up helping Angelina Jolie, Malala Yousafzai or Elon Musk with their philanthropic pursuits or personal problems – yes, yes, it’s farfetched, but not impossible.You could change someone else’s life, or at least brighten up their day.

Help finglobal.com help your friends

Finglobal.com would like to assist your friends, family members and acquaintances. If you know anyone who has emigrated and is struggling with issues such as offshore transfers, policy encashment, trust and estate administration in South Africa, South African tax, financial emigration, PPS or financial planning – why not send them our way. The red tape, and bureaucracy can be a nightmare – we know because we’ve been doing this for years.

We can assist them with cost and obligation free assessments, track and trace their policies, facilitate the necessary enquiries, amendments and transfers on their behalf and complete their individual financial migration plan without a hitch!

In order for us to help out your friends, simply leave your details and we’ll get in touch with you for your friends, family members, acquaintances or colleagues’ contact details.

Go on – help someone out – it’ll put a smile on your face!

 

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