Suit Up, Show Up, Give Yourself A Boost Up: How Being Of Service To Others Helps YouYou are here:
It’s a well known fact among people in recovery that being of service to others is an integral and necessary part of staying sober. When you’re feeling in a rut, stuck on something, “in your head”, or having difficulty working through your emotions, talking to another person about it can be helpful. “Talking it out” to someone about what you are going through can help you come to the realization you might need to get through whatever it is you are getting through. There’s another form to this helpful conversation that many aren’t aware of, especially that it is scientifically backed. Talking to another person about their issues can help you get through your issues. Hearing about someone else’s struggle can help you gain new perspectives on struggles of your own.
Psychology Today reports on a study which found that the use of “reappraisal” helped participants feel better about their negative emotions. According to the article, “A reappraisal is when you take an issue and find another way to look at it that helps see that it may not be as bad as it seems to be.” The details of the study included the use of a social networking app in which participants were invited to connect and use the app as they saw fit. Some participants used the app to send encouraging feedback to users who posted about specific problems and traumatic events. Others sent messages of reappraisal or encouraging the original poster to reappraise their problem.
“Just writing about problems did not affect people’s depression or negative mood,” the article explains, “In addition, the number of times people posted about their own problems did not affect depression and mood.” Instead, it was the participants who either reappraised or encouraged the original poster to reappraise their problem who had the greatest effect. They experienced reduced symptoms of depression and elevated mood. “That is,” the article puts it simply, “helping others had a benefit for the helper.” How much their mood changed was related to their reappraisal. “That is, participants who helped other people to reappraise began to use that strategy for themselves, and that had a positive impact on their mood and level of depression.”
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