This week's Ta-Dah! is about being altruistic. The physical reward is that it slows your heart rate and disease-fighting chemicals rise. But then, if we did things for others for that reason, it wouldn't be altruistic! However, if you are able to use your particular talents to help another, you can't help but reap the rewards along with the person you're helping.
When I moved to Maryland after I married I was a 12-hour drive or more away from my parents and my grandmothers. Perhaps that is why I found myself drawn to older people and wanted to befriend them. When I quit work to start my family I started volunteering in my county as a Friendly Visitor. They assigned me to Mrs. Smith, the lady in the above photo who lived in a nursing home. She was 82 in this photo, 78 when I started visiting her every week. Sometimes I'd take her out in my 2-seater sports car (before my boys were born) to shop at McCrory's. I brought her to my home at Christmas and on other special occasions. I took my children to visit her, a particular delight because she'd lost her only child from meningitis at age 8 in the 1920's. She called me her angel, but she did not realize how much she filled a need in my own life.
Loretta LaRoche points out that it is hard to be depressed when you're helping someone else. Some suggestions she makes are: welcome a new neighbor (with flowers or muffins), leave flowers on a co-worker's desk, pay the toll for the person in back of you. I'd add visit an elderly person in a nursing home and take along your children or your pet (after checking to make sure the pet is welcomed), help out at the community food kitchen, become a Big Sister or Brother, offer to babysit your neighbor's children so they can go out for an evening.....you get the picture. Just look around to see if there's something someone needs that you can offer, and do it. Be sure to let me know what you did.