Hello SOTGC community,
Have you stopped to think about the things you reach for to help with your overall mental health and happiness? Could it be weekly pedicures, massage therapy, shopping for that “gotta have it” pair of stilettos? Or the famous go-to luxurious, mouthwatering piece of decadence that we so lovingly call chocolate!? Right now I am thinking that a little pampering on a massage table followed up by a pedicure is the remedy for the stressful week at the office.
But wait … does it always have to be about “ME”!? Well, OK, sometimes it is nice to be pampered, though, as I think about it, I realize there are others within my circle of influence that could use some pampering more than me. Their pampering could come in many ways and requires just a little bit of me to help.
If you are asking, how does that help your mental health and happiness? Let me share a little bit of information. Through the research and analysis of published reports, there is evidence that volunteers have a 20 percent lower risk of death than that of nonvolunteers. (WebMD Aug. 2013) There are also studies that support the idea that volunteering has a connection to stronger mental health and overall happiness.
So, what that means is, if I volunteer, I will live longer? Well, the jury is still out on whether or not volunteering is the primary driver to the longevity of life. What we do know is how people feel when they have given of their time for another person or cause. There is a sense of self-importance and feeling needed, which can play a psychological role in your mind. In the end, you feel happier, which keeps you motivated and willing to seek additional opportunities that repeat the feeling of euphoria.
What about the impact it can have on children volunteering? There is no age limit, as a matter of fact, if a child volunteers willingly or unwillingly; you are still providing them with valuable life skills they will carry into their adult years. Before even reaching their adult years, the benefits are astounding because of what they reap themselves. A retired sociologist from the University of Wisconsin conducted a study that found there to be a positive effect on grades overall. Additionally it increased their self-concept and helped their attitudes toward education. As a parent, or someone with influence over the younger generations, what is stopping you from helping to influence them to give back to others, their school, and their communities?
What about you? What is stopping you? Time? Skill? Money?
I understand, I have experienced that as well. Take a moment to evaluate some of the activities we do, and see if we can “give up” something for ourselves to “give back” to another.
- Trips to your favorite coffee shop (Time/Money)
- Reading a book (Time/Skill)
- Pedicure (Time/Money)
- Baking (Time/Skill/Money)
- Gardening (Time/Skill/Money)
- Movie Outing (Time/Money)
- Playing of Sports (Time/Skill/Money)
- Golfing (Time/Skill/Money)
The list can go on, but when we stop to evaluate things we think make us happy, sometimes it is only a momentary fix. By taking away only a small part of our favorite activities to give to another, the overall effects are not only long-term, but life changing for you and others.
The 2000 Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey shows that people who volunteer are 42 percent more likely to say they are very happy than people who don’t volunteer. The time is now to give back and continue building a stronger community today and in the future by giving your 42. Give up one of your guilty pleasures, and give $42 to a charity. Spend 42 minutes one weekend cleaning out a closet and donate the clothes. Spend 42 minutes a month and go read to a child at a local school. The opportunities are endless!
At the start of the 2014-15 school year, Bright Futures Harrisonville (Harrisonville, Mo.) will be launching a community-wide movement focused on giving “My42.” Please join our community, give back for the benefit of another, and for your overall happiness and health.
If this post resonated with you, Share #My42 on social media what you have done and help create a movement that benefits the giver and the receiver! If you want more information on how to bring Bright Futures to your community, let me know. Everyone has a gift to share; whether it is a gift of time, talent or treasure … it is a gift! Please Tweet, Pin or share on LinkedIn or Facebook.