Why Should We Be of Service?

Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others Buddha

For the last two years I have volunteered for a local organization called The Ophelia Project where I mentor teenage girls enrolled in high school. While not well known, I first learned of the organization from another volunteer named Sandy who told me how much she loved the experience. She explained that although it was an eight-month long commitment per year, adding up to about 12 to 15 hours a month, the time spent was some of the most rewarding things she did in her life. Right after that conversation, I got in touch with the director of Ophelia and signed up. Sandy was right — it is a big commitment and quite a bit of work. But she was also right about the benefits.

Looking back over my life I must admit that most of my happiest times have occurred when I was actively engaged in helping others. That’s why it should come as no surprise that it is practically impossible to create a happy, meaningful and rewarding life without being of service to others in some way. Even more, new information about philanthropy shows that serving others ultimately serves us in many ways. Here are the top seven benefits we each gain by compassionate helping.

  1. More happiness. According to Stephen G. Post, professor of preventative medicine at Stony Brook University in New York and author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping, a part of our brain lights up when we help others. That part of our brain then doles out feel-good chemicals like dopamine, and possibly serotonin. According to Post, “These chemicals help us feel joy and delight — helper’s high.” A common reaction is that “some people feel more tranquil, peaceful, serene; others, warmer and more trusting.” When we volunteer we often give ourselves deeper purpose and meaning and that nearly always leads to greater happiness.
  2. Reduce stress. When we help others our bodies release a hormone called oxytocin, which buffers stress and helps us maintain social trust and tranquility. Along with oxytocin are the other chemicals like dopamine, which is a mood-elevating neurotransmitter. These drugs tend to push aside negative emotions and reduce the stress level.
  3. Relief from pain. A study done by Pain Management Nursing reports that on a scale from 0 to 10 that people’s pain ratings dropped from nearly 6 to below 4 after attending a volunteer training program and leading discussion groups for fellow sufferers. Volunteering takes our mind off our pain and also makes us feel more in control of it.
  4. Longer lifespan. Over 40 international studies confirm that volunteering can add years to your life. In fact, current studies suggest up to a 22% reduction in mortality rates! How much do we have to do? Studies confirm that a regular commitment of as little as 25 hours per year is beneficial.
  5. Lower blood pressure. A study done by Psychology & Aging reports those adults over 50 who volunteered for 200 hours in the past year were 40 percent less likely to have hypertension than non-volunteers. It is believed this is accomplished because of the lower stress, and the effects of being active, social and altruistic.
  6. Reduce mild depression. A study of alcoholics going through AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) points out that those who volunteered to help others were twice as likely to stay clean a year later and their depression rates were correspondingly lower as well. Plus, in many cases mild depression is linked to isolation. Volunteering helps to keep a person in regular contact with others and to help develop a social support system.
  7. Benefit your career. That’s right. A book entitled The Halo Effect by John Raynolds insists that volunteering for the right reasons can so turn your life around that the benefits will extend to your work. Raynolds says, “Remember, when you become involved, when you lead with your heart as well as your head, the result is always good.” Instead of feeling depressed or unfulfilled at work, Raynolds is convinced that you will feel more happy, confident and energized when you find something that makes you feel generous and purposeful — and that of course will spread to every single area of your life.

So does all volunteering prove beneficial? No. Dr. Michael Poulin, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Buffalo in New York says, “Helping appears to only be good for you if you really care about those you’re helping.” In other words, feeling resentment or obligation will erase the benefits that we might otherwise receive in both our emotions and our physiology. If you feel exploited in any way, it is better not to take the action than stress yourself out doing something for the wrong reason.

My time as a volunteer isn’t always fun — there is usually time, energy and even money involved — but it is always meaningful and gratifying. Looking back at the times when I helped at a local food distribution service, delivered gifts for seniors, helped a young boy get braces, wrote a check when I could, and so much more, my feelings of contributing to others and my community have always boosted my awareness of the blessings in my life. Plus, I honestly feel that offering words of encouragement, and sharing ideas, on my blog SMART Living 365 is a gift to readers around the world.

A big part of what I write about is sharing ideas that can lead to a happy, peaceful and meaningful life for each of us. Even though there are lots of ways to do that, and some of them seem incredibly obvious, if you’re any thing like me you appreciate being reminded of ideas that often slip under the radar or are routinely taken for granted. Volunteering and serving others are like that. So even if you already know that volunteering offers huge benefits, if you haven’t done it in a while, it’s definitely SMART to make it a regular part of your life.

Today’s article was written by Kathy Gottberg and is shared from the following website: volunteering7-reasons-why_b_6302770.html.

Kathy Gottberg believes in living healthy, authentic, fearless and SMART. Follow her journey at SMART Living 365.com.

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A Purpose Greater than Ourselves…

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth Muhammed Ali

10 Life Lessons From Muhammad Ali

When you hear someone shouting out, ‘I am the greatest!’ – then most of us would not necessarily want to hear any more. We’d leave.

But there is one man who stated this and captivated our attention. The fact was that Muhammad Ali would have to have been one of the greatest and famous boxers to enter the ring. In addition to his quick feet, he also had a quick mouth that ignited his audiences as much as his fighting prowess gained the respect of his opponents in the ring.

Here are 10 of his golden gems – that if applied to your life – will make you great.

1. It’s not the action that makes a thing right or wrong, but the purpose behind the action.

I know that I constantly encourage my readers to take action. But it goes deeper than that. We must take ‘right’ action motivated by a purpose greater than ourselves. It must be a purpose designed to help others and to make for a better world.

If our purpose is selfish, its longevity will be unsustainable, but if it is given as an act of generosity, then who knows what power is emitted by such action?

2. We have one life; it soon will be past; what we do for God is all that will last.

You and I have been created for a divine purpose. Have you discovered what yours is?

This is not a question about religion, but rather about a responsibility we have as humans while planted here on planet earth.

Find your purpose. Fulfill your purpose. And while you’re at it check in with the boss to make certain you’re not trying to fill someone else’s shoes. Nothing worse than getting to the end of your life not fulfilling your calling and applying your potential.

3. I would have been the world’s greatest at whatever I did. If I were a garbage man, I’d be the world’s greatest garbage man! I’d pick up more garbage and faster than anyone has ever seen. To tell you the truth, I would have been the greatest at whatever I’d done!

If you’re going to do anything – be the greatest. Don’t be satisfied with second best. Go first class. Put 100% effort into everything you do. Don’t be slap dash. Add excellence as your secret ingredient to every task you undertake. Don’t remain a follower. Determine to be a leader.

4. To be able to give away riches is mandatory if you wish to possess them. This is the only way that you will be truly rich.

I see myself as a channel through which flows the riches that overflow in the direction of my life.

I am not a dam, nor a blocked aqueduct. I am a river – a steward of the wealth that I attract, and then dispense as directed by my heart. Therein lies a rich life.

5. I don’t have to be what anyone else wants me to be. I am free to be who I want to be.

To be me is to be free. Break all chains that seek to entangle you – whether it be parental expectations, organizational demands or societies conformities. You are unique, and in order to operate in that uniqueness you must resist conformity if you are to truly embrace your destiny.

6. Love is a net that catches hearts like a fish.

Let love do its powerful work within you. Love draws. Love attracts. Love builds. Love heals. Love captivates.

Love is the magnet that will pull the very best that life has to offer into your world, while at the same time act as a beacon of light and heat that will warm the hearts of generations.

7. I am riding on my horse of hope, holding in my hand the rein of courage. Dressed in the armor of patience, with the helmet of endurance on my head, I started out on my journey to the land of love.

Each of us is on a journey filled with hope – and to that hope attach courage, patience and endurance, and it will lead you to the land of love. Add faith to that combination – faith in yourself, faith in your creator, and faith in the universal law that states that as you sow in love you will reap love.

8. It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.

Take time to pause a moment in order to remove any pebbles you may have picked up along the way. These can take the form of small bad habits, seeds of unforgiveness, lack of discipline, secret fears, or even devious doubts.

Pull aside, even for a moment. Address them. Deal with them. Destroy them. For many a mountaineer has fallen to their death because of an unaddressed pebble. Deal with the pebbles in your life decisively, and you will conquer many more mountaintops.

9. Wisdom is knowing when you can’t be wise.

We are human. We cannot know everything. We cannot be good at everything, for we have strengths and we have weaknesses. If you do not have the wisdom in a certain area of your life then seek out the wise and make them your friends. Together we can become all wise and all knowing.

10. Old age is just a record of one’s whole life.

What does your record look like thus far? Every day you and I breathe we are writing the next page that will be included in the volume called, ‘My life’.

Within its record will be scribbles, mistakes, smudges, scratchings, all mixed up with moments of great joy, eloquence, sadness, wisdom and folly. But by the time we reach the last page – may it end with the words, ‘I have lived a full and fulfilled life – read and learn from my mistakes – and for the rest of the success story contained – there went I, but by the grace of God.’

Today’s article is shared from the following website: https://www.motivationalmemo.com/10-life-lessons-from-muhammad-ali/

 

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The Gift of Helping Others is Priceless

There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up John Holmes

Intermission at a recent concert of mine in California. I was touching up my makeup and hair when someone delivered a note to me in my dressing room. “I’m out here watching you tonight, and I couldn’t be prouder.” Signed, Mrs. Nehrens.

​In an instant I was whisked back more than 40 years to the Professional Children’s School in New York. There was my math teacher, Mrs. Nehrens, her smile brighter than a spotlight and her voice like a trumpet in a jazz band. You had to listen. Still, my mind wandered sometimes—especially during geometry, which I couldn’t make heads nor tails of—and I’d cut up. I loved to do my imitation of Johnny Ray crooning “Cry.” It brought down the house at the Apollo. Mrs. Nehrens was not amused.

“Leslie,” she said, “this is not a stage. This is a place of serious study.”

Professional Children’s was a private school for young performers. In the hallway before homeroom you’d catch a ballerina sewing ribbons on her toe shoes or a violinist studying a score. It was understood that sometimes we had to dart out for auditions and rehearsals. I’d already been excused to sing on Milton Berle’s show and Arthur Godfrey’s. But there was no skipping out on academics. We had to keep up with our schoolwork.

Algebra had been a breeze. But geometry? I couldn’t figure out the difference between an equilateral triangle and an isosceles triangle—or were they the same thing? Many times Mrs. Nehrens stayed late with me after school. She guided me through the theorems and proofs and equations. One summer she even tutored me. She didn’t want me to flunk out.

We never would have been able to afford the school if it weren’t for Aunt Eloise. She was a performer too. She’d been one of the Blackbirds of 1928 on Broadway and sang in Porgy and Bess. “You’ll go to Professional Children’s,” she announced.

“We don’t have the money for that,” my mom replied. She’d quit her job to accompany me on auditions and rehearsals, and Dad had already taken on two other jobs in addition to his regular work as an elevator operator to make up the difference.

“I’ll help out,” Aunt Eloise said.

We lived in Washington Heights in upper Manhattan, and I sang at St. James Presbyterian Church on 141st Street. Our choir director was always urging me to blend in better. “Don’t be so loud, Leslie,” she said. Well, I didn’t want to hold back. There was no hiding my talent under a bushel. “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,” I sang out. The Lord himself seemed to be doing a good job of letting that happen.

Until I turned 12. I wasn’t a cute kid anymore, but a gangly adolescent. Work dried up. I still took singing lessons and dance classes, but that was all the performing I did besides my doo-wopping in the hallway at school.

The biggest blow came that fall. One day Mom sat me down and said, “Leslie, I have some bad news. We can’t afford tuition at Professional Children’s anymore.”

“What about Aunt Eloise?” I asked.

“Work has been slow for her too,” Mom said. “It won’t be so bad. You can go to George Washington right here in the neighborhood. A lot of your friends are there.”

“But how will I be able to go on auditions? How will I get my career going again?”

Mom shook her head. In that instant I saw that light of mine go out. I would never step onstage again. All I could imagine ahead were years of drudgery. Had all the performing I’d done as a youngster been just a fluke?

Both of my grandfathers were ministers, and I was used to hearing their graces before dinner, prayers that went on and on until our food was cold. That night I got down on my knees and started praying like they prayed.

“Dear Father God, I am so grateful for all you’ve given me: Mom and Dad and Aunt Eloise. And my singing voice and my acting. You’re going to have to help me, God, because I want to keep going to this school that helps me do all that…”

But the first day of school I was trudging up the hill to George Washington, not shooting downtown on the subway to Professional Children’s.

That afternoon I sat at the kitchen table, staring at my homework. The phone rang, and I didn’t bother to answer it. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. “Yes, yes,” I heard my mother say. “Thank you so much. We can never repay you for this.”

Mom came into the kitchen, tears in her eyes.

“That was Mrs. Nehrens,” she said. Why was my old teacher calling us? “She called this morning and wanted to know why you weren’t in school,” Mom continued. “I told her we couldn’t afford Professional Children’s anymore. Well, she just found a scholarship for you from the Presbyterian Church. It will cover your tuition for the rest of the school year.”

I jumped up and gave Mom a huge hug. And back at Professional Children’s, I gave Mrs. Nehrens a hug too.

That year turned out to be an important one for me. I landed a spot on the TV show Name That Tune and won twenty-five thousand dollars. Record producer and songster Mitch Miller heard me do “The Lord’s Prayer” on the show and signed me to Columbia Records. Later, I was a regular on Mitch’s popular sing-along TV show. And that eventually led to Broadway.

So when I read Mrs. Nehrens’s note in my dressing room, I knew I had a huge debt of gratitude to repay. I stepped back onstage and announced, “Folks, I want you to meet the lady who made it possible for me to get where I am today.” I had the crew shine the spotlight on Mrs. Nehrens, because as I discovered more than 40 years ago, nobody’s light can shine all on its own. It takes help from people like my old math teacher. “Thank you, Mrs. Nehrens,” I said. “Take a bow.”

She deserved it. She taught me a lot more than just geometry.

Today’s inspiring story was shared from the following website: https://www.guideposts.org/better-living/entertainment/movies-and-tv/guideposts-classics-leslie-uggams-on-lending-a-helping

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What Do You Want to Be Remembered For? The Meaning of True Success

To do more for the world than the world does for you, that is Success Henry Ford

The Charles Schulz Philosophy

The following inspirational quiz is often called the Charles Schulz Philosophy or sometimes Charlie Brown’s Philosophy.  It’s not actually written by him, although the quote at the bottom is from a peanuts cartoon. Enjoy the following quiz.



1.
Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

Easier?

The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia.”
-Charles Schulz

Today’s post is shared from the following website: http://www.greatest-inspirational-quotes.com/charles-schultz-philosophy.html

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You Can Be an Inspiration…No Matter What Your Age!

We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are Max Depree

Grandma Moses – An Inspiration

In her late 70s and struggling with severe arthritis, the farmer’s widow from Eagle Bridge, NY loved to do needlework, but her fingers no longer were as nimble for the small detail work of embroidery. The elderly woman found she could hold a small paintbrush much easier than a needle, and tried her hand at painting. She thought her farm and country scenes were good enough to show at the fair, but she only won prizes for her preserves and canned fruit.

Then one day an art collector noticed several of her paintings on display in the window of a local drug store. He bought them all. When he showed them to his friends in the art circles of New York city, they were more curious about the painter.

Soon, “Grandma Moses” gained an international reputation. Her widely-collected works of art were featured on calendars, greeting cards and in exhibitions in the leading galleries, including the Modern Museum of Art in New York City.

Even more amazing, it’s reported that twenty-five percent of her more than 1,500 paintings were done after she had turned 100!

Isn’t it time you got started?

Today’s inspiring story is shared from the following website: http://truthbook.com/stories/old-age/grandma-moses-an-inspiration

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