With the economy still slumping, there are many people in need and a shortage of people willing to help them. Now more than ever is an ideal time to put your own needs aside and lend a hand to someone else. Doing so will not only help them, it will also help you.

“When we move to help others we get out of our own way. This frees up a vast resource of internal energy that can also be channeled toward helping ourselves,” says Hale Dwoskin,CEO and Director of Training of Sedona Training Associates. “The more giving you are -- even when facing your own financial challenges -- the more you attract that same energy to you.”

“Giving and helping others is also its own reward; it’s extremely satisfying and life-affirming,” he continues. “This is exactly what we need when facing bigger challenges.”

Case in point: last month The Boston Globe reported a touching story that took place at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Facing the possibility of having to start a round of lay-offs, Paul Levy, who runs the Center, called the staff to a meeting.

"I want to run an idea by you that I think is important, and I'd like to get your reaction to it," Levy began. "I'd like to do what we can to protect the lower-wage earners -- the transporters, the housekeepers, the food service people. A lot of these people work really hard, and I don’t want to put an additional burden on them.”

"Now, if we protect these workers, it means the rest of us will have to make a bigger sacrifice," he continued. "It means that others will have to give up more of their salary or benefits."

Paul Levy’s suggestion was met with a round of applause. In a great show of kindness, the staff members unanimously offered to give up raises, vacation and sick days, and bonuses to protect the other workers’ jobs.

So what are some ways you can join in and give to those in need?

1. Share The Sedona Method with others. The Sedona Method gives people one of the greatest gifts of all, and one that can't be bought: happiness.

“The best way to share The Sedona Method with those around you is through example,” Dwoskin says. “Rather than trying to force someone to learn how to release, allow yourself to demonstrate releasing in action. The more you are a living example of releasing, the more others will want to share whatever it is that is causing you to have all these positive experiences.”

"It is also very helpful to share your own experience and benefits from releasing, or share our Web site The Sedona Method (official site) Self Help Program by Hale Dwoskin so others can learn more. Simply being yourself while benefiting from The Sedona Method in your life and sharing your own gains is the best way to allow others to benefit as well.'

1. Volunteer. From food pantries to home-building organizations, there's a group that could use your help. If you like the idea of volunteering but aren't sure where to get started, sites like VolunteerMatch.org can help you find a place to volunteer that will match up with your interests and skills.
2. Donate to charity. Gently used clothing, food, personal care items and monetary donations can all make a difference to the life of someone in need. CharityNavigator.org, an independent charity evaluator with information on over 5,000 U.S. charities, is an excellent resource to help you find reputable charities with worthwhile causes.
3. Share with your neighbors. Sometimes the smallest, most unexpected gestures are the ones most appreciated, and we all too often overlook the people living right next-door. Do you grow vegetables in the summer? Share them. Are you in good health? Help your neighbor rake leaves, shovel his driveway, or get his yard in shape for spring.
4. Listen. Just lending your ear to hear someone's troubles or challenges will let them know you care. And remember, listening is not just about being quiet while someone else is speaking -- it's about showing you're interested in them and there to offer the support they need.
5. Show love to those around you. It’s possible to show love even for strangers and doing so can infinitely boost their spirits. Simple things like buying a bag of groceries for a homeless person or sharing advice or a few words of kindness with someone in an online chat room can make a world of difference.