“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Recently I read a fascinating article that explained how people who volunteer regularly feel good inside— something that researchers call a “helpers high.” There seems to be an actual physical sensation that occurs when people help others; they experience greater energy and strength, less anxiety and depression and increased feelings of self-worth. People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains, feel calmer, stronger and more energetic after helping others. Volunteering makes us happier, healthier, and may even lengthen our lives. Children who volunteer are more likely to grow up to be adults who volunteer. And in a wonderfully positive circle, communities with lots of volunteers are more stable, better places to live, which in turn further boosts volunteerism.
Interestingly, the benefits of volunteering seem to be linked to a person’s degree of commitment. Some studies found the benefits increased up to the point where a person had volunteered 100 or more hours during a year. Consistency seems to be key—the more consistently one volunteers, the better their physical and psychological benefits.
Almost seven years ago when I first walked into the Bio-Touch Center in Tucson to take a class, I was amazed to learn that the Bio-Touch organization offered sessions for donations only, and was made up entirely of volunteers, having long recognized and embraced the immense value to both parties (the practitioners and the recipients) of “being of service” to others.
The Bio-Touch Center volunteers are deeply appreciated by so many people inside and outside the organization, and I can attest to the job being the most gratifying volunteer work I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve volunteered at my children’s schools, for cancer and lung disease organizations, religious organizations, etc, and although I felt pretty good about the work I did at those places, it paled in comparison to the incredible transformation I felt when I became “of service” to others by sharing the loving touch of Bio-Touch.