Some people say that if you’re feeling down, reach out and help someone less fortunate. If you see someone who is worse off than you, you’ll feel better about your own circumstances. I can’t say that I agree or even understand that philosophy. Is happiness graded on a curve? When I see someone less fortunate than me, I just feel sad…period. I don’t feel better (or worse) about my own situation.
There are, however, scientifically proven health benefits to volunteering, giving back or reaching out to others. Some of these beneficial health factors include:
- Possibly strengthening the immune-system.
- A decrease in both the intensity and the awareness of physical pain.
- Activation of the emotions that are vital to the maintaining good health.
- The multiple benefits to the body's systems provided by stress relief.
- Experiencing a "helper's high," a rush of euphoria, followed by a longer period of calm, after performing a kind act.
- This initial rush from the "Helper's High" is followed by a longer-lasting period of improved emotional well-being.
- Release of the body's natural painkillers, the endorphins as part of the "Helper's High."
October 24, 2009 is the 9th annual Make A Difference Day; the largest national day of community service (http://www.handsonnetwork.org/MakeADifferenceDay). If you’ve never been a volunteer or been particularly altruistic, perhaps this is the day to give it a try. If the science is correct, you may be able to skip that H1N1 vaccine!
Grinning from Here to Here is posted by Grin and Bare It - designer of products that support emotional and spiritual well-being.