I recently came across an article that shared some reasons why Massage Therapists love their job…the resounding answer: the feeling gained from helping others.
Why does it feel so good to give? A cornucopia of research has been done related to this very question. Research after research shows that people who give time, money, or support to others are more likely to be happy and satisfied with their lives and less likely to be depressed. One study showed that by simply making a donation, the part of the brain that produces feel-good chemicals, like oxytocin, is activated. Another study found in Dr. David Myers’ book, The Pursuit of Happiness, observed that “happy people are more helpful” and that “helping others is one of the best ways to overcome stress and anxiety.”
Stephen Post, Ph.D., a research professor and co-author of the book Why Good Things Happen to Good People has found that “[w]hen you’re experiencing compassion, benevolence, and kindness, they push aside negative emotions.” When we give a massage we shift our focus from ourselves to someone else. Dr. Post continues saying that empathic sharing “creates a chain of feel-good-feelings where doing good helps us to feel good; and feeling good also makes us more likely to do good.”
But there is one caveat…The caregiver, the helper, the massage therapist MUST feel supported. It’s imperative the giver “feel like they have time to have fun and take care of themselves.” And believe it or not, research supports this!
Research shows “negative mental and physical consequences [arise] for givers who are overburdened and stressed by their duties.” Maybe you have already felt the consequences of not feeling supported or as though you don’t have enough time. If so, allow science to affirm to you the value of having fun, and the importance of taking care of yourself!
Schedule time to take care of yourself, everyday! Perhaps every morning, stretch and mediate for 5-15 minutes. Every Wednesday try a new recipe. Maybe schedule time to take that Zumba or Yoga class. Self-care doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but it has to be expected and consistent in order to provide prolonged and sustainable benefits. Self-care is about doing things and being in places and around people that make you feel supported and encourage fun! I call it “Happiness Interval Training!” The more you train yourself to feel good the more likely you will feel good. Woot! Woot!! Ride that train to happiness! Experience more highs than lows and remember why you do what you do.
I heart Massage Therapist! They are the most generous people I know. Generous with others and now maybe more generous with themselves 😉