Last night I needed dog food. It was late and I was hungry too, but I wasn’t about to go home without chow for my pups. While I was in the local pet store, I remembered that my dog needed a new bed, so I grabbed a big old one for him. I struggled to carry my purchases out to the car, but then I noticed a woman who had it a LOT WORSE than me.
Pushing a stroller filled with a crying baby and pulled by a dog eager to get somewhere fast, she was dropping pet supplies every few feet despite her attempts to maintain her grip on her shopping bag. I set my stuff down on the sidewalk and ran behind her, picking up a leash, a dog brush, a book on dog obedience, peanut butter dog treats and more.
Finally we reached her car and I unloaded her supplies into her back seat. She thanked me over the noise of her hysterical child and the deep barks of her very large dog. Evidently I wasn’t the only hungry person at the pet store!
I retrieved my own supplies, went home, fed four dogs, gave them water, took them out for a bathroom break, and then settled down to a solitary meal of leftovers that were pretty yummy. I observed how happy I felt.
Why so happy? Shouldn’t I be exhausted and borderline cranky?
Not according to experts who study these things. It turns out that helping others (pets count) is a real mood booster. People who sit around and are always hoping someone will help them are much more likely to be anxious and depressed than the folks who open doors, let people cut in line in front of them, and other helpful practices.
Maybe you could try that this week. Help others. Anyone and everyone, whether two or four legged – just try to be helpful, without expecting anything in return and it turns out you may end up feeling unreasonably happy!
4 Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! 5 Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. 6 Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. 7 Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.
8 From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise. 9 Practice these things: whatever you learned, received, heard, or saw in us. The God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9 CEB