We live in a world where happiness is seen as a destination. A world where mental peace and stability is often overshadowed by high paying jobs, responsibilities and the urge to get ahead. Another aspect of life that is often ignored and also one, which makes us human is service.
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
Service not only to oneself or to those to whom we are bound by blood, but service to communities. This Service can take many forms – donating money, donating things and the most precious of all, time. The time we have on this planet is the most valuable resource, once it goes, it goes. The time spent serving people, the time spent volunteering working for others to make their lives better, does the same for you.
- Every time we do something good, help an old man cross the street, donate money for a cause, your brain releases dopamine-This helps reduce stress and increases positive, relaxed feelings.
- By spending time in service to others, volunteers report feeling a sense of meaning and appreciation, both given and received, which can have a stress-reducing effect.
- Reduced stress further decreases risk of many physical and mental health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, depression, anxiety and general illness.
- In addition, a Longitudinal Study of Aging found that individuals who volunteer have lower mortality rates than those who do not, even when controlling for age, gender and physical health.
- Helping others also facilitates interaction which helps us form relationships. These relationships not only enrich life experiences for the people involved, help one understand, empathize and build a more tolerant mindset towards sensitive issues.
- Volunteering, service to others is also service to oneself, not only does it have benefits for mental health but it also improves the way one perceives oneself to be- it helps you bloom into a more confident, more aware person.
We do so much in life for ourselves and for our sense of duty, but to work for the community we live in, which shapes us is a path to happiness and peace. It is respite from activities to surge ahead to activities which help you look within yourself.
Author – Divya Wadhwa