If you’re not sure where you’re going in life, there’s one almost-guaranteed path to happiness: help other people as much as possible.
Many of the people who enroll in our dental assistant school, cite the desire to help others as one of their main reasons for pursuing continuing education.
They might be stuck in a job they dislike, or they might just want to find a stable career and invest in their future. We meet all sorts of different people, and no two dental assistant school students are exactly alike.
But when they start talking during class time, it’s often about their desire to help others. After all, what could be better than helping children with their health needs every day?
As it turns out, helping others isn’t just good for those people you help– it’s also good for you.
Helping People Improves Your Health
If you’re feeling stuck in life, helping others may just pull you out of a rut.
According to Psychology Today, those who helped other people, over a six week period, felt more positive about life and their prospects for the future.
In fact, they cite another study that showed even young children benefit from helping others.
If children, who already have most of their needs met, can get a real boost from helping people, what do you stand to lose?
Here are six ways, according to research aggregated by Mental Floss, that helping others can benefit you in your daily life:
- You’ll Live Longer – Research shows that helping others, especially when it comes to their overall health or quality of life, can improve your own health dramatically enough to increase your lifespan. People who help others are better at resisting disease and sickness, and they experience less depression and anxiety. They also experience more overall life satisfaction, which is something we all desperately need.
- Helping People is Contagious – When you help someone in need, it catches on. Other people observe your actions and are inspired to take their own. When you work in healthcare at a community-oriented job, you’ll influence other people in your community to adopt your demeanor and lend a helping hand. Imagine even more people working to make a difference.
- You’ll Be Happier – Helping others makes people happy. According to the Mental Floss article, “Researchers also think that giving back might give individuals a mental boost by providing them with a neurochemical sense of reward.” These researchers tracked 2000 people over a five year period, and those who regularly helped others said they were “very happy.”
- You’ll Experience Less Pain – According to one study, people who regularly help others experienced a strong reduction in their overall physical pain levels.
- You’ll Have Lower Blood Pressure – According to research, helping others dramatically decreases loneliness and increases social activity. If you’re talking with and helping kids all day, your routine won’t be full of awkward silence. That increased human interaction for helpers lowers their overall stress and risk of hypertension which, in turn, makes for lower blood pressure.
- You’ll Feel Satisfied – Having a sense of purpose is important. The lack of purpose and overall job satisfaction is what causes people to feel aimless or feel miserable in their current work situation. Helping others can help increase your overall sense of purpose and identity.
This quote from Psychology Today sums it up nicely:
“In a nutshell, if you want to cope better with stress serve others. Stress management and resilience can be enhanced by connecting with others in need.”
Helping Others as a Career Choice
At our dental assistant school, we feel one of the most valuable services we provide is teaching people how to help others improve their overall health.
Having a career in a field that allows you to constantly help others and provide needed assistance is a great opportunity for anyone who’s not sure where they’re going.
Whether you feel stuck at an unsatisfying job or you don’t know what the future holds, helping others in some way will help improve your daily mood and your outlook on life. If you help other people daily in your career, it might not even feel like going to work– instead, it feels like you’re helping friends, neighbors, and community members lead healthier lives.
If you like the idea of helping children as a pediatric dental assistant, here are some helpful tips to make sure you land a high-paying career. It’s an in-demand career, but it’s also a chance to help children on a daily basis. What could be better than that?
~ Dr. Rhea Haugseth