When You Give, A Little Karma Comes Your Way

GiveHave you ever done something for someone without expecting anything in return? How did it feel? I bet it felt pretty good. Giving selflessly not only nurtures our hearts and souls, but it has a tremendous impact on all aspects of our lives. In short, your generosity produces good karma.

Studies show that giving back enhances our emotional wellbeing. Although many complain that they’re too stressed, or lack the time, energy or money to give back, giving selflessly can produce positive emotions that help to relieve stress and improve one’s quality of life. As a matter of fact, individuals battling with disease who volunteer tend to have a more positive outlook and lower rates of depression, as compared to those who don’t.

When we help others in need, it takes our minds off of our own problems, helps us gain a healthier perspective, and allows us to see the good things we have in life. Yet, when we only surround ourselves with individuals who seem to “have it all,” it’s easy to lose perspective about our own good fortune. Finally, giving back involves meeting new people and making new friends, which helps build our social, professional and support networks so that we feel more connected to others and the larger community. It increases our sense of being valued, needed and wanted, which has a direct impact on our self-confidence and self-esteem.

Although giving money to various causes is a good thing to do, giving your time and energy to people or an organization is much more rewarding to both you and to them. It doesn’t take a lot of time to help others. Research shows that only 100 hours a year can provide dramatic health benefits. Here are some ways to get involved:

  1. Volunteer through Work: Combine volunteerism with your ambition by volunteering through programs set up at work. Many corporations today, see the value in supporting and partnering with a variety of community service organizations.
  2. Move to Give: There are tons of athletic and sporting events that take place all over the world that benefit charities, causes and non-profit organizations. You can participate in walks, runs, bike races, biathlons, triathlons and other events that benefit research for cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and other diseases. Find a non-profit organization you care about and look for athletic events that help to raise awareness and money for their cause.
  3. Go Back to School: Many public schools are looking for professionals to get involved in after-school programs to tutor students, or to come into guest lecture. Call local schools in your area to find out how you can help.
  4. Get Out of Town: If you love to travel, a great way to give back is to take a volunteering vacation to another country or even to an area within the United States that is in need. There are tons of websites that provide volunteers with information about various programs; however, a few to explore include www.globeaware.org, www.crossculturalsolutions.org, www.transitionsabroad.com and www.i-to-i.com.
  5. Go with Passion: Volunteering should be something you enjoy. Look for opportunities that merge your passion with giving. If you love animals, for instance, volunteer with an organization that works with animals, such as The Seeing Eye (an organization dedicated to raising seeing eye dogs for the blind) or local shelters. If you love to work with your hands, get involved with an organization like Habitat for Humanity, which builds homes for underprivileged families, or neighborhood clean up programs. If you’re passionate about your alma mater, get involved with alumni organizations or your advisory council.

Do you volunteer or give of your time? Do you find it rewarding?

Excerpted from 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You. Looking to make real, lasting change for better health?  52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You is an easy to follow, week-by-week guide to health and happiness. Get it now at Amazon.com.

Other Posts on Sheer Balance:

  1. The Power of your Smile
  2. Pilates and the Power of Commitment
  3. Move to Give
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Brett Blumenthal

About Brett Blumenthal

Brett Blumenthal is owner of Sheer Balance and bestselling author of 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You (January 2012) and Get Real and STOP Dieting! (December 2010). Her next book, A Whole New You: Six Steps to Ignite Change for Your Best Life will be released on December 18, 2012. She regularly speaks at conferences, spas and wellness centers, and consults on topics of health and wellbeing, as well as business strategy. Her writing is regularly featured on popular sites including: Yahoo!, Shine from Yahoo!, Divine Caroline, Intent and Gather. She has also been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Spa Magazine, Stuff Boston, American Fitness, The METRO and Organic Spa Magazine. Brett has appeared on NBC, FOX and CBS, as well as on Martha Stewart’s Whole Living Radio Show – on Sirius Radio, and Magic 106.7, Talk 96.9, and WBZ 1030 in Boston. She is a regular guest on Better Connecticut (WFSB – CBS, Hartford, CT) and MyFox – 25 in Boston. She has 20 years of experience in wellness promotion and almost 10 years experience in management consulting; including branding, change management, and training strategy and development for Fortune 100 companies. Brett has received numerous awards including: Shine from Yahoo! “Woman of the Year;” Divine Caroline’s Love this Site! award; Intent’s Best Healthy Living Site Award; and Healthy Heart from Nature Made. Brett received her MBA from Johnson at Cornell University, where she graduated as a Park Fellow; she also earned her bachelors degree from Cornell University. She is certified by WELCOA (Wellness Council of America) and AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America).

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