Fundamental 8 |Service is 360
We serve each other, our customers and ourselves when we serve the community.
It goes without saying that serving others and “doing good” is its own reward and is just the right thing to do, whether it’s through serving your family, co-workers, friends, customers or a larger community.
But did you know that helping others helps ourselves as well; that doing good does YOU good as well?
It is not at all self-serving to recognize the benefits you receive when you serve your community. You are, after all, part of multiple communities, including your neighborhood, family, friends, company, city, country and the world. Multiple scientific studies have concluded that helping others helps you, not only spiritually, but mentally and physically also.
Altruism – unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others – can:
- Feel good – altruism has been proven by studies at NIH to promote changes in the brain associated with happiness. And “…the act of giving to someone else may have mental-health benefits because the very nature of focusing outside the self counters the self-focused nature of anxiety or depression” notes researcher Carolyn Schwartz, ScD, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
- Reduce isolation and impart a feeling of belonging – Momentum has helped many organizations integrate altruism into their culture, resulting in regular employee volunteer group initiatives. The bonds created while volunteering are deep ones and contribute strongly to an engaged workforce with low turnover.
- Reduce stress and feelings of negativity – positive emotions resulting from altruism have been shown to lower blood pressure and stress-related brain activity, potentially lengthening life spans. Another University of Michigan study found that participating in charitable activities can be even better for our health than lowering cholesterol or stopping smoking.
- Give perspective – volunteering to help others less fortunate quickly puts your personal and work-related problems in perspective, encouraging you to appreciate what you have.
- Be contagious – as a leader, your team looks to you as a role model. As a parent, your ongoing support for and involvement in philanthropic and volunteer activities will have a lifelong impact on your children.
This is not new news; Aristotle was quoted as saying “the essence of life is to serve others and do good.”
If you would like a deeper dive into the science, included studies cited above, here are a few resources:
- Harvard Health Publishing
- NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine
- NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine (additional study)
- American Psychosomatic Society
- American Psychological Association
- Mental Health Society, UK
Please share the benefits you or your business have experienced through altruism by emailing me.
Fundamental 8: Service is 360. We serve each other, our customers, and ourselves when we serve the community. Demonstrate making a difference.