Helping someone else - even if that help is as simple as holding a door open or giving directions - can boost your mood and lower stress. A study from Yale University School of Medicine examined how helpful behavior affected daily stress at work or at home. Researchers recruited 77 adults, ages 18 to 44 for the 14-day study. The participants were asked to report daily in response to an automated phone reminder on the stressful events that had occurred that day and whether they had helped someone out. They also rated their mental health daily using a sliding scale ranging from 0 (poor) to 100 (excellent). The results suggested that helping others improved the participants’ daily well being – the more helpful they were, the better they felt about themselves. The researchers noted that laboratory based experiments have shown that providing support to others can help individuals cope with stress and increase positive emotion. This study was aimed at determining whether helping behaviors yield these benefits in the real world. The researchers also suggested that you may be able to diffuse holiday stress in small ways by helping someone out.