Time is a limited resource, and many of us spend a large part of our waking hours buried in work and trying to check all the items on our to-do list. It seems there’s not enough time in a day for our activities, so making time for people may not be very important, or is it?
While we all have the same 24 hours in a day, and most people feel time-constrained, making time for people or helping others can actually change your perception of how much time you have.
Research shows that giving some of your time away can increase your subjective sense of time affluence. In other words, being there for others despite your busy schedule can boost your sense of self-efficacy.
However, a subjective sense of more time isn’t the only benefit of making time for people – family, friends, and even random strangers. If you’re looking to live a happier and healthier lifestyle, the following reasons might convince you to include “time for others” in your daily or weekly routine.
How Making Time for People Benefits You
First things first, make sure you make time for yourself before trying to be there for anyone else. This is important because if you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll hardly be of any use to others.
This is why I strongly recommend carving out “me time” every once in a while. You might want to check out this post to learn how to do that.
Once you’ve given yourself the time you deserve, focus on sharing your time (and, by extension, a part of yourself) with others. It might seem as if you are doing all the “giving” when you are there for others, but it is actually a win-win for everyone.
Here are some important physical, mental, and emotional benefits of making time for others.
Boosts Your Sense of Belonging
A quick study of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs shows that belongingness and love need rank third after physiological needs (food, water, warmth) and safety needs. That’s another way of saying that spending our time working to provide for our basic needs and safety needs will still leave us feeling empty inside if we don’t carve out time for meaningful relationships.
A good way to foster a sense of belonging is to develop and maintain close friendships. However, you don’t need too many friends to feel a sense of belonging. Remember that quality outweighs quantity when it comes to friends.
Instead of putting your energy into making lots of friends, you’ll be better served by focusing on nurturing close, meaningful, and dependable relationships. You want to be there for your support network just as much as they are there for you.
Encourages Personal Development
Spending time with quality people exposes you to helpful, healthier habits and encourages you to make positive choices. You might also be inspired to break unhelpful habits by seeing positive examples from good friends.
For example, someone in your circle may want to start exercising regularly and asks you to hold them accountable. You are providing the moral support they need to achieve their goals, and they are also inspiring you to commit to whatever your goals are.
Surrounding yourself with forward-thinking people allows you to learn new things. This is exactly the opposite of a know-it-all. Such persons hardly develop beyond what they already know. But worst of all, no one really enjoys spending time with them.
Creating a positive self-image is mostly an inside job – paying closer attention to your self-talk and deliberately swinging things in favor of optimism rather than pessimism. However, a little help from external sources can help you overcome insecurities and self-doubts that may arise now and again.
Spending quality time with the people you care about makes you feel valued and loved, which are necessary states of being for healthy self-esteem and a positive self-image.
Think about it for a minute, and it will make sense.
Do you feel great about yourself when people around you undervalue or don’t appreciate you? How would you feel if those you care about failed to acknowledge your successes?
Of course, our true worth doesn’t depend on what others think about us. However, we are social creatures that thrive when surrounded by a supportive network of people who value us, nudge us on, congratulate us when we succeed, and remind us of our worth when things seem to go south.
This is why making time for people, especially those you care about, can boost your confidence and maintain healthy self-esteem.
Reduces Loneliness and Social Isolation
Being there for family and friends helps you prevent loneliness and social isolation, negatively affecting your physical and mental well-being.
Don’t have many quality people to spend time with in your neighborhood? No worries! Thanks to technology, you can maintain strong connections with family and friends from across the globe.
Provides Emotional Support and Relieves Stress
Speaking of loneliness, those who care for you and value you are a good source of emotional support. Spending time with them can help you pull through when challenges weigh you down.
We all go through tough times now and then, and while some people are strong enough to tackle some problems on their own, there’s a higher chance of slipping into depression if they continue to face tough situations all alone without support.
Rather than retreating into our shells (especially when faced with difficulties), a healthy way to relieve stress and enjoy emotional support is to confide in close family and friends.
Increasing your social interaction, particularly with trusted people in your circle, can help you sidestep the negative effects of stress, including persistent headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, anxiety, and depression, among other health issues.
Potentially Increases Your Lifespan
A study spanning over 90 years shows that people with little to no social connections were more likely to die during the study period than those with a healthy network of social and community ties.
People tend to give up on life rather easily when there is nothing to live for. But if you have lots of love and support from people around you, there is a lot to live for, and such a life is worth living.
In other words, surrounding yourself with supportive people and spending time with close family and friends can potentially help you live a longer life.
Helps You Live Right
Making time for people isn’t just to help them or be there for them. In addition to being examples of good behavior, those closest to us are also there for us, keeping an eye on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
They can warn us when we are slipping into bad habits and help us steer clear of potentially harmful choices. The trusted people in our circle can steer us back to the right path, whether we are neglecting our work, overworking ourselves, or keeping bad company that could potentially hurt our homes.
Quick Tips on How to Make Time for Others
Whether your schedules are too packed, or you’re a lone wolf looking to carve out more time for others, here are some suggestions that can help you share a little more of yourself with others.
- Volunteer: Volunteering is perhaps one of the most selfless ways to make time for total strangers. Sharing your talent or time at a community center, hospital, or charitable organization doesn’t only benefit the people you help; it also helps you build strong connections with other volunteers who share the same interests as you.
- Extend and accept invitations: Don’t be too quick to turn down invitations to social gatherings, even if you are an introvert. Learn to say yes to invitations and make it a point to invite a casual friend or two to dinner at least once a week.
- Pursue your interest: Meeting people with similar interests can be a good way to develop and nurture quality friendships. If you don’t have many quality friends, taking up a new interest like joining a cooking class, taking an art class, or joining a local gym, can help you make new friends that may end up being life-long buddies.
- Attend community events: Find groups that promote one or more of your hobbies and interests. You can find many such groups in your local community or online. Spare some time to attend some of their events. You’ll be giving yourself the chance to explore your hobbies and interests, and you might even make some good friends and meet new people.
Caring about others is a good way to inject purpose into your life. When you give time despite your tight schedule, you will get “more time” in addition to the benefits mentioned in this post.
But most of all, making time for people means you are offering emotional support and compassion. Supporting others this way will eventually make you a stronger and better person.