I've read that a major cause of stress is a lack of control over events that affect me. When new situations, where I'm lacking power, start to pile up, my feelings about them can crowd out a broader awareness of all the options and power I do have to feel good about life.
I can see at least two ways that helping someone can tend to put things back in perspective:
1) It's a reminder of power that I do have. I have lots of abilities, professional and otherwise, that are valuable in an infinite variety of situations.
2) It's a chance to make a human connection. The desire to feel connected seems to be a big motivator behind a lot of my goals, but simple connections can be very satisfying, if I really pay attention to them. I try to take time to just listen to people (when other priorities aren't pressing), and look beneath their words and tone, imagine what they might be feeling and try to empathize with that. It's free, it's powerful, it helps me feel connected and sometimes the other person even notices and appreciates it.
Keep Up with TechRepublic