Welcome to this week’s wisdom for the Inner and Outer You. I hope everybody had a wonderful weekend and you’re prepared for a great week!
A reminder that on July 28th I will be leading a 2 hour contemplative/meditative session at my office in Etobicoke. I have room for 15 people and there are already 5 people confirmed. Please let me know ASAP if you wish to attend. The event fee is only $20.
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This week’s blog article is an excerpt from my book called Memoirs of a Wandering Ninja, Walking the Path of Enlightenment. It highlights the healthy reasons why we should contribute some of our time, energy or whatever we can to helping others. This is not something I just talk about as I personally have volunteered (and still do) my services for the Toronto and Mississauga Distress Centres, the Daily Bread Food Bank in Etobicoke and the Toronto Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Please enjoy and when you have a moment perhaps you can email me or comment here on what you do to contribute that has an impact on you too.
Why You Should Contribute
As mentioned in a previous chapter, you can’t always see processes in action; sometimes they are hidden, along with their benefits. As an example, I mentioned the rain process before. You don’t see it going up, as it’s in a gaseous state, but you certainly see it coming down in its liquid state. Not only that, you see all of the benefits that come along with rainfall, such as plant growth and fresh drinking water.
Similarly, you don’t always see the effects of your contributions. Rest assured, however, that giving of yourself not only benefits the person being helped, it has many benefits for the person doing the helping. There have been many studies conducted on the health benefits alone that result from conscious contribution. When you take action to consciously contribute, your conscious actions benefit your Body, Mind and Spirit. Sustaining your life via contribution, volunteering your time and giving back, even random acts of kindness helping others, eases the stress in the body, which results in these beneficial health factors:
– Strengthening the immune system.
– A decrease in both the intensity and the awareness of physical pain.
– Activation of emotions vital to the maintenance of good health.
– Reduction of the incidence of negative attitudes that arouse hormones that
damage the body.
– Relief of stress.
– Experiencing a natural high after performing a kind act.
– Release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, as part of “contributor’s high.”
In their book, The Healing Power of Doing Good, Allan Luks and Peggy Payne talk about this phenomenon, which they call a “helper’s high,” a feeling of exhilaration and a burst of energy similar to that experienced after intense exercise, followed by a period of calmness and serenity. Luks studied over 3,000 Americans involved in volunteer services and found that these do-gooders reported a helper’s high that lasted several weeks and improved other aspects of their lives. They also report that the euphoric sensation returned when they remembered the action of helping others. The benefits of contributing may not stop at improving sensations and emotions. 90% of the group Luks studied reported that volunteering acted as an antidote to stress, chronic pain, and even insomnia.
Another study found that members of volunteer organizations lived longer and experienced better health. They experienced noteworthy decreases in levels of blood pressure, stomach acid, and cholesterol counts. Another study, this one at HarvardUniversity, called the phenomenon the “Mother Teresa effect.” Researchers showed 132 Harvard students a film about Mother Teresa’s work among Calcutta’s poor, and then measured the level of Immunoglobin A present in their saliva. The test revealed markedly increased levels of Immunoglobin A, which is the body’s first defense against the common cold virus—all after simply witnessing someone else involved in charity work.
These studies show how conscious contribution boosts your sense of well being, improves the body’s immune system, and maintains good health. Giving to others contributes to a healthier psychological and physiological life. After a while, your conscious contribution in all that you do becomes a natural part of life, a way of being that constantly improves your health along your journey.
Quote for the week:
As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. — Abraham Lincoln