Service Brings Happiness: 5 Ways To Serve

There is undeniable evidence that serving others brings a heightened sense of lasting happiness. Service to others is a pathway to health, meaning and purpose.

Sometimes we need to take care of ourselves first. When we are completely worn down and overwhelmed, it is hard to give authentically. Yet sometimes when we’re down, it is often in service to others that we are lifted up.

How will you know the difference? If you are feeling used, obligated and stressed, it’s probably time to reevaluate your reasons for serving. If you feel like you’ve worked hard but are satisfied, uplifted in the achievements of others and a desire to continue serving, even when thanks doesn’t come your way, you are probably on the right path.

There is a Chinese saying that goes: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” For centuries, the greatest thinkers have suggested the same thing: Happiness is found in helping others.

So now that we know there is a time to serve and we have to decide when to serve, lets find 5 ways we can serve.

1. Visit A Nursing Home.

Day in and day out some of the most treasured people are often forgotten. One visit can spark a smile and fond trip down memory lane. Whether it’s a lesson in history, or words of wisdom, our senior citizens have so much to offer us and our teens. This is a gift in which both parties are truly the recipient!

2. Hand Out Blankets.

There are over half a million homeless people in the United States. Many of those are sleeping on the streets. While a single blanket may seem like a drop in the bucket to the vast level of need, a blanket can keep one person from shivering in the cold. No matter the size of the contribution, when you are on the receiving end it feels big. Plus, teens can learn that it only takes one person to start a domino effect.

3. Beautify the Community.

Spend some time sprucing up the community.  Collect litter strewn on curbside, plant some flowers in the park, or throw a fresh coat of paint on fences. Research shows that beautification is a top factor in establishing community attachment and belonging.

4. Help a neighbor.

Too often we neglect those who may need us the most, our neighbors. Whether it’s taking over some warm cookies, mowing a lawn, or offering a night of free babysitting, one simple act can go a long way to make a difference in someone’s day.

5. Volunteer.

Whether it’s serving meals at a homeless shelter, or orchestrating a clothing drive, there are numerous ways for teens get plugged into the community and make a difference. There are even some great sites, such as DoSomething.org that helps teens begin the volunteering process.

One thing to keep in mind when serving is to not over-do it. Many times we get caught up thinking that we have to constantly be doing and helping, but if you stretch yourself too thin, it will do more harm than good. Remember to prioritize and keep a balance in your life.

The Mind Leads To Happiness

The mind is much more than the genesis of our thoughts. It is more than the logic that leads us to make connections with others versus living in isolation. Your mind, or its organism, the brain, is made up of countless neurotransmitters, chemicals, hormones and other big words that help to make the experience of happiness.

Most everybody has heard that money doesn’t make you happy, other people don’t make you happy, and that you have to make yourself happy. Very few people will tell you how. Your mind will propose that happiness has something to do with success and accomplishment in the external world.

When you think negative thoughts and feel negative emotions, the body, more often than not, will also produce a negative reaction. The same also applies to positive thoughts. Let’s take two examples: a positive and a negative one. When you are in love, you have endless energy and you get butterflies in your stomach each time you think about the object of your affection. On the other hand, when you are afraid of something, for example: public speaking, the mere thought of it might result in difficulty breathing, a headache or even shaking and sweating.

Practice noticing and appreciating the countless moments of joy and happiness that occur each day. Countless? Yes.  When you practice looking for joyful, happy moments you will be surprised at how many you can potentially experience daily. Of course, it means we have to give up our pettiness and the feeling that we are hard-done by.

Some of you may be thinking, “But I can’t help what I think or how I feel”. Well, it may not be the easiest thing to do, but you actually have a great deal of influence on where your thoughts go. All it takes is a little ‘reprogramming’ of sorts. There is a quote from author and speaker Robin Sharma – “Everything is always created twice, first in the mind and then in reality”.

When you are feeling unhappy at any point in your day, notice whether this unhappiness is about others or yourself. What you will find is that almost all of your unhappiness is self-centered. To know this is to know a great secret. You are the source of your happiness and unhappiness; these feelings do not flow from the conditions in your life. Your reaction to these conditions is what keeps you unhappy, and to be unhappy in your life is to be selfish, unappreciative and incredibly self-indulgent.

There are so many things in life we can’t control. Focusing on those things is futile.  Maya Angelou, one of my heroes, stated, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” That kind of attitude change takes practice. And knowledge and practice, inspiration and application, are what this program is built on.

Resolve today to change your perspective and begin to notice and appreciate the moments of beauty, joy and happiness all around you. Look for these moments and let them nourish you deeply. Through this practice, you will cultivate and activate the ninth virtue: the virtue of joy and happiness.

 

5 Simple Ways To Improve your Happiness and Health.

I’m fascinated by the link between the way we live our daily lives and the health and Happiness we enjoy. There are choices that we make every day, some of which seem completely unrelated to our health and happiness, that dramatically impact the way you feel mentally and physically. Here are 4 ways to help improve the relationship between your happiness and your health.

1. TAKE ME TIME.

It is simple.  Set aside an hour a day to do something you love. Meditate, sit down with a good book and a cup of tea, take a bath with soothing music, hit the gym and break a sweat… do what makes you happy. When you’re happy, you have likely noticed that you  are more likely to stick to your healthy habits. On top of that, these habits, in turn, will engage the hormones and neurotransmitters that influence your happiness. When you are feeling down, you’re more likely to skip workouts, do some heavy-duty emotional overeating and have difficulty sleeping. Temporary stress often leads to suppressed appetite,  while chronic stress has been found to increase appetite and food cravings, and that in turn leads to weight gain.

2.   DON’T SPREAD YOURSELF TOO THIN

Its no secret that stress effects your health and well-being. A little stress is good to keep you going, too much stress will have lasting and dramatic effects on your life. To avoid feeling stressed or overwhelmed, set priorities and have realistic expectations for yourself. Downsize your to-do list – or even better – make a to-don’t list. While it’s important to be there for the people around you, the world won’t end if you say “no” to them and “yes” to yourself. People you care about and that care about you will understand when you say no. As my mother always said “You can’t fill a cup from an empty well.” Meaning that if you are overwhelmed and burned out you won’t be able to effectively help those that need you. Take time and prioritize your health and well-being.

3. INACTIVITY WILL DESTROY YOUR HAPPINESS

Have you ever noticed that the weekend you decided to stay in and just live the couch potato life and avoid all physical activity is also the weekend you can’t sleep at night and feel unaccomplished? Sitting around and just binging on Netflix will not only effect your physical health but will deteriorate your mental health and happiness as well. Add to that, more and more people have desk jobs that require minimal movement and you probably aren’t as active as you need to be.  At work, take some 5 minute breaks to get up and walk around or get a desk that you can rise and stand at. When possible, walk to work, park as far as you can away from you office, or get off a stop early and walk the rest of the way in. You will be amazed at how just adding a little activity will increase your health and happiness.

4. GET OUT AND SMELL THE ROSES

For most of us, the most time we spend outside is when we walk from our house or office to our car. Exploring the world around you: that could be traveling to faraway lands or hiking through the woods in your area, provides a wide range of mental and physical benefits. For starters, the benefits of sunlight (and the negative effects of artificial light) are well-documented in research. We know that not being outdoors enough significantly decreases our Vitamin D intake.

 

At the end of the day, we all want to be happy. Happiness comes from so many things, but being healthy will help maintain your happiness and your happiness will help you remain healthy. Stay active, stay happy!

Welcome To Happ-E-ness

This is a blog about happiness. Personally, I don’t know if there has been anything more searched for, more desperately wanted, in the history of the world, than true, authentic happiness. Think about your own life. What do you want more than anything? Likely, whatever you say will be a bridge leading directly back to the things you think will make you a happier person. Am I right? I’m going to assume I am. The beautiful thing is, when we make happiness a priority, everything else seems to fall into place. This blog’s purpose is to help you see the amazing and natural benefits from seeking a happy life.
Happiness today! Not someday, not one day, not in the distant future, but TODAY! I am going to go out on a limb here and say that you already know some of the things that make you happy. That’s the perfect start. Sometimes we push those things off because of faulty logic. It’s not your fault. This so called “logic” has been passed down for generations. We, as humans, have been programmed to think like this: “If I just
(fill in the blank), then I will be happy.” It really doesn’t matter what the blank is! Nothing could be further from the truth. We don’t obtain happiness because of accomplishments or milestones, we usually obtain accomplishments and milestones because we are happy! Sure I’ll say it again on its own line so you remember. Thanks for asking!

You don’t obtain happiness by accomplishments, you accomplish things when you are truly happy!!!!