If you are a kind and caring person you probably often find yourself volunteering for tasks that help other people out, do good works and improve things. Of course it’s important to look after yourself and if you over-commit that’s not in your best interests. But don’t talk yourself out of all your fabulous intentions. There are lots of benefits to volunteering, so get the balance right and you’ll be enriched.
BE KIND, BE HAPPY
Happiness is something we all seek, but really it is a natural state. Being part of something bigger than you makes you feel wonderful. It brings reassurance, serenity and a sensation of abundance. We are leaving behind the ‘Season of Goodwill’ but that doesn’t mean that we have to abandon all the better meanings.
Keep Yuletide alive in your heart by volunteering and see what a difference you can make. Before you let so called ‘ordinary life’ overwhelm you again and sweep away the Solstice magic, decide to make a connection and enhance your sense of belonging. The grace in your heart will make it all worthwhile, along with the following bonuses.
YOU’LL HELP SOMEBODY
Volunteering is naturally about helping someone, or helping lots of people. But that has some wonderful spin-offs. For one thing the person or people you help will probably be grateful and happy, and they will think highly of you. All those positive feelings are bound to have an effect on you. The happiness you generate will be contagious and you may find you cheer up and forget about any troubles you have.
Another benefit is the good karma you generate. Who knows in what way that will come back to you? In addition, there may come a time when you need help and the person you’re now supporting can do their bit for you. Of course, you won’t help others just to get credit in the ‘helping bank’. But helping each other is a double win-win activity, for both sides benefit each time from gratitude and joy.
YOU’LL BE ‘IN THE PRESENT’
The importance of bringing your attention into the here and now is becoming more and more recognised. It’s what we do with meditation and mindfulness, and what many disciplines such as yoga are all about.
Modern life is extremely distracting. All the pressures, deadlines and lists of jobs that your mind is probably going through 24/7. But if you put down your phone and pick up the tools you need to help someone, you’ll find that you concentrate and you’re taken out of yourself. This is a great way to de-stress, and if you are prone to guilty feelings when you try to relax, here is your antidote.
YOU’LL FEEL GRATEFUL
Being grateful is a glorious feeling. When you are grateful you truly bask in a glow of pleasure, and you feel connected to everything around you, especially this beautiful world. Research is mounting that gratitude is very good for you, on all levels. In the search for happiness, gratitude is perhaps the single most important factor, easing depression, sadness and fear.
When you help someone you may feel grateful that you have resources they lack. You may also feel grateful that you have the power to give this joy. In addition, helping out makes you notice that this is a wonderful place to be, as hard times melt away and your perspective changes.
YOU’LL GET THAT COMMUNITY SPIRIT
You may not see yourself as a ‘joiner’ and it’s fine to prefer your own company. However, we all need some sense of community in order to be happy and healthy. Just doing something helpful for and with those in your neighbourhood or social group is a good feeling.
If you do not like your neighbourhood and/or have problems with a social group, you can still feel part of the entire human family by doing something that benefits everyone. There are others like you out there and if you give yourself a chance to meet them you are also giving yourself the greatest chance of a long and happy life.
YOU’LL BE A COMPASSIONATE SOUL
If you ever feel that the world is going to ruin and bad influences are all around, be part of the solution by practising compassion – that sense of truly caring how another feels and doing your best to alleviate suffering.
It is true that compassion is the only way forward for the world. The special benefit of compassion is that if you practise it you believe in it and so your faith in the rest of humanity increases. Compassion is the dew of Heaven, and it will fall on you as you carry it out it for others.
HOW WE CAN HELP
We have seen how being kind makes you happy and connected. You’ll also experience the wonders of helping someone, being ‘in’ the present, feeling grateful, getting that community spirit and the blessing of compassion. There are so many lovely things about volunteering, but if you need more encouragement to take that step, or if you’re feeling low in any way, help is just a call away. Contact our team of Readers without delay and be heartened and uplifted.
PUBLISHED: 05 January 2018