Service as a practice is about compassion in action. It’s about tuning into the needs around you and offering your gifts in whatever way you can. It’s about connecting with others from a place of fullness and abundance and creating a ripple effect that restores health and balance to the world.
- Research shows that volunteers benefit from reduced rates of depression and an increased sense of life satisfaction and well being.
- Volunteering has been associated with improved health outcomes.
- Socializing, which is often associated with being of service, has been shown to lower dementia risk.
- Data from a number of studies showed that those who volunteer have a 20% lower risk of death than those who do not volunteer.
- Research shows that helping others makes us happier.
- Studies show that employees that assist in their co-workers are more likely to report job satisfaction.
How To Start Practicing
Practice Mindfulness – Check your motivation. Where does the urge to be of service come from for you? What are you hoping to achieve? Are you attached to a particular outcome? Is this something that will benefit others?
Know Your Values – If you want to know how to be of service, get curious about your values. What truly matters to you? What are the things you think about daily? What are the problems you want to solve?
Be Intentional – The research shows that the health benefits associated with volunteering or being of service comes from a desire to help others (not ourselves). The benefits we receive are a side effect of doing for others, so be intentional about who you are helping and why.
Define Service – Acts of service come in a variety of sizes. From bringing the mail in for an elderly or sick neighbor to volunteering at your local food bank, the impact on you and on others is not determined by the time or effort spent. Sometimes the smallest, most thoughtful acts, can have the largest impact.
Practice Self-Care – We can’t give if we are depleted, so make sure your foundational practices are in place. If you are caring for a sick loved one, make sure you have a plan for self-care to reduce the chances for burnout.