Getting help from others and offering it is crucial to our lives. We do it without thinking too much about it. But now research shows that helping others in their time of need is good for us.
Experiments have shown that sharing your problems decreases the symptoms of depression and rumination.
It did not matter for the people involved in the experiment how exactly the helper proceeded: validation, reappraisal or pointing out errors. It was the interaction that mattered the most.
The studies also showed that helping others was not only beneficial to the ones in need, but also to the ones offering the help.
Assisting others to better handle their negative feelings is an efficient way to practice and improve our own emotional health.
The skill that makes this possible is empathy, seeing things from another perspective, the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.
So on one hand, we help the person in need feel understood and less lonely.
On the other hand, practicing this shift in perspective will help us with our life, since we will be more equipped to face our own struggles.
Comforting others is something we should do not only for the other’s sake but also for our own sake.