The other day I was driving, and my low gas indicator came on. Even though there were several gas stations nearby, the sound warning me that I was nearly out of gas created a brief moment of panic. My chest tightened and I lost my breath for a second. Even though I knew I was going to make it, anxiety was in the driver’s seat. Many of us are having a similar feeling right now, because we are all running out of energy. So how do we refuel our gas tanks?
I recently read an article about staying well during these times. Interestingly enough, the author proposed that while we are all having feelings of complete exhaustion, one of the best ways to cope with this feeling is to help others. It seems counter-intuitive, yet at the same time it makes complete sense. Science tells us that when we help others, a neurochemical called oxytocin is released. Oxytocin is responsible for feelings of connection, empathy and love. This is why helping gives us this warm and fuzzy feeling. St. Francis of Assissi shares that “For it is in giving that we receive '' God calls us to love and serve each other. Much of the desperation that we are experiencing is stemming from a lack of social contact. What better way to refuel our tanks (and someone else’s) than to help another? Dr. Jody Carrington shares that “there is not a single person or program that will be responsible for making this world a better place. You and me, we are the answer. Don’t underestimate your power to be kind right now. Acknowledge each other and remember that we’re wired for connection.” We absolutely need to take time for ourselves, to recharge, refuel and regenerate. But maybe the best remedy is simply to help another.
“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” Author unknown