“Be a fountain, not a drain.” – Rex Hudler
I have a lion head tiered fountain in my backyard. The simple sight and soothing sounds of cascading water instantly calms me. When I’m feeling down, I can close my eyes and the gentle rhythm of flowing water evokes tranquility and lifts my spirits. Birds visit often to drink and bathe in the water and I am content knowing we are providing a source of life and refreshment for them as well.
Drains, on the other hand, simply suck water down.
That’s why I love this quote. Do you want to be a continual source of refreshment to your loved ones with your words, behavior, and smiling face? Or do you want to be that drain and simply suck the life out of people?
In other words, are you a giver or are you a taker?
The answers to those questions can determine your happiness.
Studies show that altruism, whether that means donating money, volunteering, or a simple act of kindness has the potential to reward the giver as much or more than the recipient.
In fact, “givers” report:
• An improved sense of well-being (89 percent).
• Lower stress levels (73 percent).
• Better physical health (68 percent).
• Enhanced emotional health (77 percent).
• Enriched sense of purpose in life (92 percent).
• Increased happiness (96 percent).
Why is that the case? A number of studies came to the surprising conclusion that giving affects our brain chemistry. People who give often report feelings of euphoria, which psychologists refer to as “Helper’s High.” These studies certainly give credence to the famous Bible verse stating that there is more happiness in giving than receiving.
You can give in many ways, not just monetarily. Rich or poor, everyone has ample opportunities in their lives to make a difference. Maybe giving means listening to a friend’s problem, supporting a family member through a difficult time, comforting someone who is depressed, or offering help to a total stranger. Even simple acts such as opening a door for someone or offering a friendly smile can brighten someone’s day and make us feel happier as well.
Why not resolve to be like that fountain and make people feel happy they spent time with you. Be a source of refreshment. Like Mayo Angelou once said in an interview, “The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud….be a blessing to somebody.”
If you do so, you’ll not only help those on the receiving end of your kind or generous act, you will benefit yourself as well. As Alice Walker so eloquently said, “Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.”