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Why Everyone Should Strive to be of Service

The Beauty of Service

We talked a bit in a previous post about how voluntarily serving others improves our mental and physical well-being, supporting our sobriety and helping to prevent relapse.

In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., let’s now delve a bit deeper into how and why service makes us feel better, according to science and spirituality.

The Benefits of Service

Studies show acts of service will create real, measurable benefits to those giving of themselves. Here’s how:

  • Increased happiness

The science is in. Giving makes us happier with an increased sense of satisfaction in life. That goes for all ages and regardless of socioeconomic status.

  • A heightened sense of meaning

Giving of your time and energy focuses you back into your community, and with the sense of a tighter-knit community comes a reenergized sense of meaning in life, whether that’s a church group, a school function, or your own recovery support system.

  • Feelings of competence

Volunteering your time puts you in situations that may feel intimidating at first, forcing you to learn new skills or face scenarios in which you might normally feel a little uncomfortable.

Conquering those feelings of inadequacy provides a feeling of competence that we tend to carry forward into other areas of life—the feeling that you can handle whatever may come your way.

  • Reduced stress

Volunteering your time quite simply takes your mind off your own troubles, even for just a little while. This elevates feelings of self-esteem, while reducing stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Volunteering also keeps us mentally sharp, especially for older individuals. But the cognitive benefits of giving of your time and energy are not linked to age. Studies show teenagers who volunteer their time show some benefit in their academic achievement as well.

What’s more, those that prioritize service in their life sometimes even live longer!

It could be said that kindness is what binds us together as people. Many spiritual traditions over the centuries have told us that very thing.

“It is not enough to be compassionate – you must act,” the Buddhist spiritual leader The Dalai Lama tells us.

And as we have learned—science is starting to agree!

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