Share the Glow
Friday, February 05, 2016
Thornton Wilder said, “There is a land of the living and a land of the dead… and the bridge is love.” Those words are a wonderful reminder of Calvary. Christ’s unconditional love bridges the chasm between us and God. He lights our lives with joy, hope, and abundant life; His grace sets us aglow with eternal life.”
What do we do with this amazing gift? Share it by extending His healing love to others.
One of the elements in the CREATION Health principle of Interpersonal Relationships is volunteerism. Consider these surprising wellness benefits.
A survey of 3,296 volunteers was organized by Allan Luks and analyzed at the Institute for the Advancement of Health in New York City. Of those who had regular personal contact with the individuals they helped, 95 percent were blessed with a feel-good sensation that became known as the “helper’s high.”
The experiences of the volunteers are reported in Luks’s book, The Healing Power of Doing Good: The Health and Spiritual Benefits of Helping Others. For example, “I got very excited for the individuals I helped. I felt very in control of myself and my body. I am a runner, and I felt I ran better than ever before. I felt very strong physically. Almost like nothing could conquer me. You want so much to help others, and when you do and see their reactions, you feel so good inside that it makes you explode with energy.”
Another wrote: “Some months ago I was so stressed out that I could barely get four hours of sleep at night and I had all sorts of aches and pains. I had even tried antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs, but to no avail. I then found out firsthand that it is love that truly heals. When I do nice things, I definitely feel a physical response. For me it is mostly a relaxation of muscles that I hadn’t even realized had been tense… I can now sleep well at night, and most of my aches and pains have disappeared.”
These dramatic health improvements begin with an initial rush that dramatically reduces stress and releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. The rush is then followed by a longer-lasting period of improved emotional well-being. In fact, helping others was found to produce the same long-term health benefits as relaxation and meditation exercises, caused relief from back pain and headaches, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, and it curbed overeating and alcohol and drug abuse.
Nationwide, surveys indicate that nearly 90 percent of committed volunteers say they are healthier, or as healthy, as others their age. Another study’s participants commented on “the endurance of the glow.” Amazingly, of those who commented, most say that the glow kept returning when they remembered helping.
What’s the best way to get started?
First, seek volunteer opportunities that provide personal contact with those who are being helped. Face-to-face or even phone contact seems to offer more healing benefit than impersonal projects.
Second, help often. Set a starting goal of two hours weekly.
Third, do something you are already trained to do.
And fourth, involve yourself in something that is of personal interest to you.
Often people say, “Oh, I tried giving time at that place, but it just wasn’t for me.” Truth is, it was that particular experience that wasn't right for them. It’s important to persist until you find what you enjoy.
Allan Luks writes, “In asking the overworked person to make additions to an already busy day, I can easily imagine the skeptical laughter of readers who feel sufficiently pushed to the wall by their existing job responsibilities. It is ironic, but true, that one way to relieve the pressure is to do something extra.”
Make a difference in your life and the lives of others by extending the healing ministry of Christ through volunteerism. Live life to the fullest by sharing the glow, and enjoy the thrilling experience David Viscott describes when he writes, “To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.”
That’s CREATION Health!