Helping Others Helps You
”Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Every holiday season since it was written in 1941, the iconic Christmas song, “Little Drummer Boy,” strikes a chord. It tells the story of people laying their finest gifts before the infant destined to become the King of Kings. The humble drummer boy has just one thing to give – his talent. He plays his drum, and is rewarded with Jesus’ divine smile.
Whether we have millions or just our time and talent to give this season, every gift from the heart is bestowed, and received, in grace.
Donating and being of service doesn’t just enrich our spirit. Research suggests every time we give, our physical, mental and emotional selves also receive measurable benefits.
A study by the National Institutes of Health discovered that the parts of the brain linked with trust, social connection and pleasure are activated when we give to charities or volunteer. The brain releases endorphins, producing a “helper’s high.” In fact, as unlikely as it may seem, A Harvard Business School study showed giving money to someone else is actually more satisfying than spending it on ourselves.
We don’t need to be in tip-top shape to reap these benefits from our charitable contributions. In fact, research discovered that chronically ill people facing health opportunities, like multiple sclerosis and HIV, actually became measurably healthier after giving. Volunteers tend to have lower blood pressure, stress levels and incidents of heart disease and depression.
A University of California, Berkeley, study proved that the elderly, in particular, stand to benefit. Even factoring in variables like age, general health, non-healthy behaviors and exercise habits, volunteers were 44% less likely to die over a 5-year period than non-volunteers. Those statistics also applied to people helping spouses, friends, relatives and neighbors.
Giving and volunteering strengthen ties to community, and fosters a sense of belonging. It also has the effect of “elevating” others, as Thomas Jefferson called it. When we see someone doing good for someone else, our brain actually creates a chemical reaction that inspires us to do likewise. Kindness truly is contagious.
Start a wave of compassion, connection and gratitude in your community this season. To find opportunities to give and volunteer in your community, go on-line and check out:
· V olunteermatch.org : This site has a list of specific needs in your area during the holidays, and year round.
· Unitedway.org : Find out how you can be a mentor, reader or tutor in your city.
You can also Google “holiday volunteering” in your city to receive a list of options.
Another opportunity to help others is to become an OHI Missionary. The OHI Missionary Program is a 90-day volunteer extension program for OHI program graduates who want to continue on their spiritual path to heal themselves. OHI missionaries immerse themselves in the OHI holistic healing program while being of service to OHI guests. We encourage all who have a calling, passion and commitment to serving others to apply. For more information, visit our website: OHI Missionary Program .
Experience the beauty, serenity and fellowship of an OHI holiday retreat at the OHI missions in San Diego or Austin. Achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health, and get your New Year off to a healthy start. Visit us online at www.optimumhealth.org , or call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.