The Helper’s High

✍️ Writing

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The Helper’s High

Hey friends,

Last week went down really well on the writing front. We went on a team retreat in Wales and stayed in this amazing Air BnB. The goal I set for myself was to write a draft for Parts I and II of the book during the retreat.

I embraced the “crappy first draft” mindset completely and just hammered out those words. Of course, there were times when that inner critic wouldn’t leave me alone. And there were times when I would literally type out “Uh oh, this is really bad… but let’s keep going” on the page.

By the end of the week, I had a draft of Parts I and II. They might be crappy, but those words exist.

(Check out this vlog for some behind-the-scenes)

✍️ What we worked on this week

This week, we’ve been thinking about how teaching and mentoring others can be a source of energy.

I used to work in a teaching hospital and there were days when younger medical students would follow me around to get an insight of what practising medicine is like day-to-day. I thought that having “extra” medical students follow me around would just add to the already heavy workload of a doctor. But I felt super energised on the days when I had medical students following me.

Why did I feel more energised even though I was technically “working” more?

🧠 The most interesting thing we learned

There’s this phenomenon called “helper’s high” that psychologists have discovered. It describes that feeling of ”wow” after doing an act of kindness, donating money to charitable, or volunteering in a meaningful way.

It turns out that when we choose to spend our time on activities that benefit other people, we also feel energized. Studies have shown that volunteering increases happiness, life satisfaction, self esteem, decreases depression, and might even help us live longer.

❓Question of the week

Have you ever experienced the “helper’s high”? If you’ve ever taught or mentored other people, I’d love to hear about what that did for you. “Teaching” and “mentoring” doesn’t have to be formal like having a medical student follow you. It can be you helping a younger sibling with homework, teaching a friend to cook, anything that comes to your mind.

Share here: Whatever your story is, if you’re up for sharing a story that might feature in the book, please reply here. As usual, the form will ask you for your name and email (optional) so that we can give you credit for the story, or potentially reach out to you to ask for more details 🙂

📢 Answers from last week’s questions

Thanks to all of you who took part in our survey on mindfulness and meditation! Shoutout to Chris, Anh, and Arun for sharing these cool mindfulness practices.

Chris introduced the 5-4-3-2-1 technique:

“I use 5-4-3-2-1 to break out of moments where I feel anxious or have lots of nervous energy. Using this technique, I focus on my breathing while listing 5 things I can see, 4 things I can touch, 3 things I can hear, 2 things I can smell and 1 thing I can taste.”

Anh uses an alarm as a prompt to practice gratitude:

“I set an alarm for every hour or two. Whenever the phone rings, I stop whatever I’m doing to look around, find something I’m grateful for in my environment so I can be more mindful where I am and what I’m doing, or just enjoy the silence (essentially a mini mediation session) for just 1 minute. Then I resume and repeat.”

And Arun spoke about the art of listening:

“Whenever I become aware that I got carried away with the thought process, missing the present moment. I become aware of the sound surrounding me. For example, a bird singing, sound of the vehicle passing through the road side.”

That’s it from me for now. Have a great week!

Ali xx

Ali Abdaal

About The Author

I'm an ex-doctor turned YouTuber, Podcaster, entrepreneur and author. I've been creating YouTube videos for over 7 years and have a following of over 4 million over on my main channel.

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