For the next 26 weeks I will be sharing a different way you can become healthier in your daily life. Some of these suggestions have to do with food or exercise, others have to do with lifestyle changes, but all of them are practical and relatively easy to execute. You may already be practicing some of these habits, but hopefully you’ll be inspired by at least one or two new ideas you can begin to implement.
Speaking of a research study on toddlers, Prof. Lara Aknin, stated that “these findings show that children are actually happier giving than receiving.” Interesting, isn’t it, that Jesus spoke this very Truth 2,000 years ago: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35)?
SERVING OTHERS INCREASES HAPPINESS
Have you ever heard of the hormone “oxytocin”? This hormone is released during and after labor, breastfeeding, sexual intercourse, and when you help others. Whether you give time, money, or other resources, being helpful promotes the release of endorphins, which in turn makes you feel happier. If you are struggling with depression, do something kind for somebody. This act will get your mind off of yourself and your problems and will boost your endorphins.
While I don’t condone much of their resources, I like the imagery offered by an Operation-Meditation article:
“Imagine a child with an injury on his knee—the more he stares at his wound, the more painful it feels, the more he ends up regarding his situation as a cesspool of misery. But imagine that same child, instead of spending the entire day pondering his own wound, sets out to attend to other kids’ wounds. He ends up so busy taking care of others that he forgets about his own injury and his own pain, and he feels really good about nursing away the pain of others.”
This is what often happens when we get our eyes off ourselves and begin to bless somebody else.
SERVING OTHERS CAN HELP YOUR WOUNDS HEAL FASTER
It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But a study has shown that an increase of oxytocin after social interaction is correlated with faster wound healing. The researchers believe this is due to the oxytocin reducing inflammation throughout the body. Volunteering has also shown to decrease symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease.
SERVING OTHERS WILL ADD YEARS TO YOUR LIFE
Research has shown that volunteering about 2 hours a week over several years reduces mortality rates by 40 percent! In another study, college students who went on mission trips during spring break managed stress over time better than those who did not attend these trips.
WAYS TO SERVE OTHERS:
The Amplified Version of Romans 12:10b says, “Be mindful to be a blessing…” I love that! It’s the idea of consciously looking for ways to bless those around you. How refreshing would it be if we continually kept this at the forefront of our minds as we interacted with others? I think in order to do this, we should have an idea of how we can serve. So I’ve put together a list (by no means extensive) to get your creative juices flowing.
-Fill an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox
-Babysit for Free
-Visit a Nursing Home & talk to the residents
-Rake Leaves for an Elderly Person in the Fall
-Shovel Snow for an Elderly Person in the Winter
-Help an Elderly Person Weed Their Garden in the Summer
-Volunteer to Spring Clean for a Busy Mom
-Volunteer in the Church Nursery
-Volunteer to Lead a Children’s Church or Sunday School Class
-Make a Meal for a Needy Family
-Hand Out Gospel Tracts at Your Local Park
-Volunteer at a Local Homeless Shelter
-Volunteer at a Local Soup Kitchen
-Volunteer at Habitat for Humanity
-Volunteer at the Salvation Army
-Donate Items to Your Local Food Shelf
-Offer Somebody a Ride
-Invite a Lonely Person Over for Tea and Fellowship
-Teach a Child/Teen a Skill for Free
-Volunteer at Your Local Pregnancy Center
-Knit/Crochet Blankets, Sweaters, Hats, etc. and Give Them Away
-Sew Quilts and Donate Them to People in Need
-Hand Out Tracts with $5 Gift Cards to People as They Go Into the Grocery Store
-Go to a Laundromat and Hand Out Quarters as You Converse With People
-Treat Somebody to Tea/Coffee
-Anonymously Pay For Somebody’s Meal at a Restaurant
-Share a Great Book With Somebody
-Allow a Car to Merge in Front of You During Rush Hour
-Let Someone Ahead of You in the Grocery Line
-Buy a Homeless Person a Meal
-Send Someone a Care Package
-Send Somebody an Encouraging Letter, Card, Email, or Text
-Send Flowers to Somebody Who is Grieving or Depressed
-Bless a Family With Home-Baked Goods
-Offer to Grocery Shop for a Mother With Young Children
-Buy Flowers and Hand Them Out at a Nursing Home
-If You Have Musical Talent, Sing/Play at a Local Nursing Home for Free
-Put Together a Bag Filled With Snacks and Hygiene Items for a Homeless Person
-If You Are Athletic, Consider Coaching a Youth Team
-Tutor/Mentor a Child
-Volunteer at an After-School Program
How are you going to serve somebody this week? Be intentional and act on it!