(Note: first appeared on my stressarrestman blog)
This stress management strategy is quite an interesting one and can have far reaching benefits. It is simply to give back to others less fortunate.
When you do so not only will you make a positive impact on the lives of others who are less fortunate but, with a little forethought, you can combine it with Strategy #4 in order to build quality family time.
In his article “4 Dimensions Of Work-Life Balance Every Executive Should Know” SAP Global CIO Oliver Bussman explains how he has combined a busy work schedule with effective life-balance.
One of the ways he gives back is to sponsor an annual Christmas event in Brazil along with his wife.
Another event he contributes to along with his wife is providing lunches for underprivileged children in his home town.
And when playing with his children he is creative in finding ways to turn part of the play time into exercise time.
To conclude his article Oliver states:
“Being dedicated to my family, my health and giving back gives me more energy and motivation to succeed in my work life. Maintaining a balanced lifestyle reduces stress levels and increases my ability to focus…”
There are innumerable and far-reaching ways you can help others less fortunate.
In his book Screw Business As Usual Sir Richard Branson, Virgin CEO, recounts a story of spontaneously helping a villager whilst he was visiting his property at Ulusaba in the Sabie Sands area of South Africa.
He heard a voice calling “Mr. Richard” and turned to see a woman from the village dressed in a brightly coloured KwaZulu gown. She continued with: “I have heard you are a very generous man. Can you lend me some money to buy a sewing machine?”
She told him she was a talented seamstress and needed cash to get her business going.
He asked how much and she told him: “$300 would be enough and what is more I will repay it within three months and employ six people full-time.”
Sir Richard tells that her determination, focus and ambition were fantastic. She knew exactly what she wanted…
So he gave her the money.
Several months later he was invited back to the village to open some community projects supported by his Virgin Unite, not for profit foundation.
As he arrived six women came up to him with a gift of the most exquisite cotton pillows and tribal clothes and, much to his surprise, they returned the $300.
And You Don’t Have to Be Rich or Famous to Help Needy People Either…
I helped sponsor an African gentleman through the Kiva organisation one day…
He needed money to buy a cow.
I lived in Africa for 18 years and understood the value of a single cow to a poor villager so didn’t hesitate when I saw his request.
After doing so I could see a picture, in my mind, of him merrily leading his new cow home whilst thinking of all the… profits he would have from its milk.
It was a vision that stayed with me for many days and gave me immense joy…
And here is an interesting facet of life - Happiness Melts Away Stress.
When you gain pleasure helping others you benefit from reduced stress. Why not give it a try today?