Letting people help you is a good thing

This month’s CHQ250 column could be one short wellness tip, and it would be this: Let people help you.

If our society showed a firm understanding of this concept of helping and allowing yourself to be helped, then this article would stop there. Since there seems to be a bit of room for growth in this category, fill your cup of hot beverage, pull up a chair and get comfy.

We have a giant American fascination with independence and that’s great, in many ways! Our country was founded on this idea. We are bright and bold people and we can manage on our own. It’s satisfying. It’s self-gratifying. However, it’s not always necessary. In fact, sometimes it’s not even safe. It robs us of the opportunity to share, collaborate, or build community. Sometimes, it’s just plain lonely.

The longer the to-do list, the bigger the challenge! That’s one way to look at it. However, the bigger the challenge, the greater the stress. Some may say, “I work better under pressure,” or “I thrive on stress.” To them I say, “It’s your movie. Write it as you wish.”

It’s an undeniable truth that stress has a negative effect on our health. The longer our to-do list, the greater our stress and the less able we are to enjoy the moment, much less each other.

As we are running from task to task, we are often alongside others who are also doing these very same tasks in the same arenas and at the same times. Yet, forming the words, “Let’s share this task” seems awkward…vulnerable. It seems we’ve really got a thing about demonstrating to one another that we are getting it all done…solo…superwoman or superman.

Here’s the wellness tip again. Let people help you.

Start the ball rolling and say the words, “Do you want to work out a carpool?” or “Do you need anything at the store?” Keep in mind, it’s difficult to say these words because it may feel like a loss of control, and to some degree, it is. This is one of those times though, when helping each other is the kind of control loss that allows us to grow, and breathe, and enjoy more moments.

So, offer to help someone, and allow others to help you. It’s hard at first, but when someone offers, just say, “OK…and thank you!” If your mother in law offers to do a sink full of dishes at your house, let her. (If she rearranges your furniture and hangs a glamour shot of herself over your sofa, well…you’ve got a bit of a problem!) If your neighbor wants to shovel your sidewalk, say “Yes!” That’s not losing control. That’s just accepting kindness.

When we allow others to help us, we open the door to the opportunity and blessings of collaboration, appreciation, relief, kindness and grace. That, my friends, is living well.

Chautauqua County has high rates of both heart attack and stroke, but an estimated 80 percent of heart attacks and strokes are preventable. CHQ250 is an initiative of the Chautauqua Health Action Team(CHAT), encouraging you to take action to be one of at least 250 strokes, heart attacks, or related deaths prevented in Chautauqua County in the coming year. This column is written by CHAT members to share information to help you to do your part to live a life free of stroke or heart disease; it is not intended to replace advice provided by your healthcare team. Please direct questions or comments to: activecounty@co.chautauqua.ny.us.

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