I've always been an advocate for volunteering your time and energy to good causes. I've talked about how I volunteer with my chuch every 6 weeks or so in feeding the poor at the local Y, and everyone knows that I've been a "Big Sister" through Big Brother Big Sister to Lil' K for about seven years now. But it's the little things too, and I always try to make a difference in other people's lives in a positive way. Whether it's helping them move, sending a "hello" card when I know someone is feeling down, or just picking up the phone and listening, these things matter, and I'm always happy to do them. I don't give with expectations to receive anything in return, and I don't do it so I can make myself look or even feel like I'm a better person. I just do it because it makes me feel good.
Yesterday, while watching the Ellen show, it was reaffirmed for me that you really do "GET" more than you give, when you give. She had Dr. Wayne Dyer on, and if you're not familiar with this man, you simply MUST google him, listen to some of his meditation cd's or audio books, or pick up one of his books. He is this insanely inspirational man, and I love everything he has to say. I've read a few of his books, and have one of his meditation cds, and plan on reading some more of his stuff in the future as well. Anyway on Ellen yesterday he was talking about "giving".
He talked about a study "they" (whoever the proverbial "they" is) conducted regarding seratonin levels in people how the act of receiving, giving and WITNESSING giving raises the levels of seratonin in people. He basically said that they studied these levels in folks while they were in the process of doing good deeds for others, and their seratonin levels would rise significantly as they were doing it. They also would study the levels of those "receiving" the gesture, and of course, their levels would also rise significantly.
But the most interesing part of the study is that they studied the levels in people who were just "around" witnessing these acts, and THEIR levels ALSO increased significantly. He said something about how if we could all just do some good deeds every day, the world would really be a "better, happier" place, and we could learn to restructure our brains, and get folks off anti-depressants and stuff, because we could raise our levels just by being.
I thought this was so interesting on so many different levels. But the thing that struck me about it most was how true it rang for me. Since getting laid-off from my job, I've gone through a mix of emotions, but lately, I've been on a serious UP. I just feel at peace, and okay with the situation, and I haven't been able to really explain why it is that I've been in such a good mood. But I have also been helping several other people with their own issues. Feeding the poor, helping my friend move, helping Candid Mama with her resume and stuff related to her own job search...things that benefit ME as they are benefitting others.
I always knew I felt good when I did stuff for others, but I had no idea it was an actual physical reaction. How about that?