Altruism, of course, is unselfishly giving something to someone with no expectation of anything in return. This could be something physical, like goods or money, or it may be something less tangible, such as your time.
Some argue, however, that ‘pure’ altruism is never really possible. Why? Well, because there’s almost always a sense of satisfaction or gratification when you’ve given something away, an effect psychologists refer to as the ‘helper’s high’.
Years ago I asked a friend who was at the time working as a clinical psychologist in the British national health service for his top tip for helping a friend who was feeling low.
Without missing a beat he wholeheartedly recommended asking them to help you. Quite simply, he said, see if they’ll assist you with some small task. I think he was spot-on with this advice. It’s nice to be asked, and it feels good to help.
Knowing how this process works, maybe you can also use it to your own advantage on days when you’re not feeling completely great yourself? Don’t necessarily wait to be asked for your help, just roll up your sleeves and offer it.
So when’s a good time to do this? Well, how about this very day?