Wellness Through Service

1-2015_MLK

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'” – Dr. Martin Luther King

There are numerous studies that show giving is good for our health…a so called “Giver’s High.” In fact, there is a great article from the Cleveland Clinic that summarizes some of this research: http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2014/12/why-giving-is-good-for-your-health/). January is a fantastic time to think about giving as we celebrate the King Day of Giving: A holiday signed into law by then President Clinton in 1994. The day is now part of a larger United We Serve initiative created by President Obama (2013) to work toward the nation’s recovery and renewal by serving communities.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, at its core, calls for “Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems.” For more on the King Day of Service, visit: http://www.nationalservice.gov/special-initiatives/days-service/martin-luther-king-jr-day-service-0.

 So what can you do? Here are 7 suggestions. (And yes, this will improve your overall wellness!):

1. Visit www.Serve.gov to find a local volunteer opportunity.

2. You can also reach out to your local United Way (http://apps.unitedway.org/myuw/LUsearch.cfm) to see if there are local service opportunities.

3. You can organize a service project at work, based on local needs (see 1 & 2 above).

4. You can help to organize a service project through your children’s school so children learn the power of giving (start by connecting with your child’s teacher or the principal). Here is a list of 35 service projects for kids: http://kidworldcitizen.org/2013/02/20/35-service-projects-for-kids/ .

5. You might try making a budget for giving in the coming year. What charities are most important to you? Do you want to have some “free” funds to support friends doing walks and runs for charity? Is there a percentage of your income that you could live without? Here are some suggestions on how much you might give to charity: http://money.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/budgeting/how-much-budget-to-charity.htm.

6. Remember, there are also un-organized ways to serve. Collect trash around your neighborhood or at a local park. Look for opportunities to help others who could use an extra hand. Practice random acts of kindness. Here is a website dedicated to random acts of kindness: http://www.randomactsofkindness.org/.

7. Finally, make sure to visit www.mlkday.gov to get inspired and get involved!

Information provided by the National Wellness Institute

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