A Compassionate Lifestyle

There is something quite beautiful that happens to me when I have an opportunity to bless someone. No matter how big or small the deed, I get a great deal of satisfaction and joy knowing that I’ve added to someone’s happiness, lessened some worry or discomfort or helped someone get one step closer to reaching a goal. I believe being kind and generous is a part of healthy living. In fact, studies have shown that individuals who exhibit altruistic behavior gain an intrinsic reward of personal gratification, which often leads to more compassion for others. A study by the National Institute of Health found that when people give, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure and social connection. It is also believed that altruistic behavior releases endorphins in the brain, producing the positive feeling known as the “helper’s high.”

In a society where people seem to be more concerned with personal advancement and less interested helping others, we must keep compassion and altruistic behavior high on our list of priorities. Not just because it will make us feel good but more because it’s mutually beneficial for both the giver and the recipient. Feeling compassion is great but it’s just a feeling. So when you have compassion for someone suffering or simply in need of an uplift, and you’re in a position to offer a relief, act on it! The world needs more of us to stop and imagine what it must be like for people who are in distress. Once we become more aware of the needs of others and begin to feel empathic, we will be motivated to help.

I encourage you to find ways in which you and your family can serve in your community. There are many organizations that are in need of volunteers and you can commit to a time frame that works with your schedule. Maybe it’s once a year, quarterly or even one time per month, it doesn’t matter—just open your eyes and get involved. ~GYSB®

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