After a talk by famed psychiatrist Karl Menninger, an audience member asked what to do about a patient who felt a nervous breakdown coming on. Everyone expected Menninger to recommend drugs or in-depth therapy. Instead, he suggested, “Leave your house, find someone in need, and do something to help that person.”
Indeed, my clients and I have found that giving can be healing. That may be especially important today. The double-whammy of the COVID lockdown and racial roiling is making many people sadder, angrier, or more anxious.
These are three giving ideas from Nemko — which will help you feel better too:
Do something for neighbors without their knowing it. For example, toss the newspaper from the sidewalk onto their doorsteps. More generous: How about doing a task your neighbor would appreciate, for example, pulling the weeds from his or her front lawn?
Do some pro-bono work. For example, mental or physical health professionals might see some more clients for free.
Put a flower on someone’s doorstep, anonymously or not.