It’s a basic truth of life that what we focus on helps determine the quality of our lives.

When times are tough, it can be hard to manage our attention. We seem to be wired for rumination when difficulty arises, even though it rarely helps. What does help, though, is focusing on helping someone else.

Helping others allows us to experience the joy of giving, but it also gives us back a sense of control. When our lives are interrupted by a parade of misfortunes, we feel out of control. But by doing something to help someone else, we regain a sense of control, a belief that we’re capable of effecting change in our environment, even if it’s someone else’s situation that’s changing.

When times are challenging, don’t ruminate. Set your difficulties aside, and find someone to help.