The Role of Service in Health and Wellbeing

Kara Bauer Health Guide
  • Sometimes when we become too focused on our own lives, whether it be our health, work, family, friends, or personal challenges and responsibilities, we can become isolated and disconnected from the larger world around us. Even though none of us are inherently self-absorbed, it’s easy to ignore our environment and those around us whom we don’t have a direct relationship with, especially when we become too involved in our own projects and individual lives.

    Caring for our families and selves personally is extremely important. However, if we focus all of our time on us and ignore the environment and outside world, we don’t have the opportunity to experience the benefits of being a contribution to all that we are interconnected with. Although we often don’t realize it, sometimes this can counteract the positive outcomes of our personal successes at a deeper level.

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    One of the most important spiritual teachings available, one that can offer a wonderful release from your personal commitments and increase your overall fulfillment in life, is to find a way to offer service to others or to the environment.  What many find when they do so is that service is not about fixing something or assisting someone less fortunate than ourselves, but rather about sharing our humanity and connection to all. Service, when given with complete heart and compassion and no expectations can be vitalizing, uplifting, and healing for both the giver and the receiver. 

    Many people feel that they don’t have time to offer service. However, strengthening our compassion and giving to others or our environment isn’t something that has to be scheduled into the day. With a little increased awareness as you go through your daily routine, you’ll find many small ways to assist another or the environment, which has the power to instantly lift your spirits and provide you with newfound energy and contentment.

    Performing Random Acts of Kindness is an idea that has been around for awhile. The concept is that you do something spontaneous or planned for the environment or someone that you don’t know.  Examples might be paying the person’s toll behind you, putting coins in a parking meter, giving up your seat on the bus to someone who looks like they’ve had a hard day, picking up something that has been littered, bringing a plant to the office, letting someone in a rush go ahead of you in line, listening to someone who needs to be heard and many others.

    For those that can spare a few hours or more per week, there are many other great ways to get involved with your community. Choose something that interests you and that makes you feel good.  Enjoy the time you give to others or the environment and take the lessons learned into your life. The impact you make will expand outwards and positively contribute to many lives beyond the ones you see in front of you. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Pay it Forward”, you’ll understand the power of making a difference no matter how small it may seem.

  • By providing service, you may feel more psychologically and emotionally balanced, which can positively impact your health and personal life in profound ways. This week I challenge each of you to do something unexpected that you wouldn’t normally do and see how you feel. You are welcome to share your experiences here to offer inspiration to others.

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    And for those that are already actively involved in service, your contribution is acknowledged and greatly appreciated. To quote Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”

Published On: February 10, 2010