Altruism: The Miracle Pain Killer

Dan Halyburton, a Volunteer Coordinator with the American Red Cross was talking to Hey, Boomer about unselfishly giving of yourself and your time to help others.
He said, “I left a 9-5 job, but I didn’t walk away from being active and engaged.” He tells his friends, “If you are not getting involved in volunteerism, if you are not doing something to help out humanity, not only is humanity missing out on you, but you are missing out on something good in you!”

Altruism: The Miracle Pain Killer

The idea of altruism behaving like a miracle pain killer has been around for at least two decades. The euphoric feeling we experience when he help others is what researchers call the “helper’s high,” a term first introduced 20 years ago by volunteerism and wellness expert Allan Luks to explain the powerful physical sensation associated with helping others.
In a 1988 piece for Psychology Today, Luks looked at the physical effects of giving experienced by more than 1,700 women who volunteered regularly. The studies demonstrated that a full 50 percent of helpers reported feeling “high” when they helped others, while 43 percent felt stronger and more energetic.
This reminds me of how I feel about the work I have done with the Miracle League. This is an organization that provides rubberized ball fields where children with physical and mental handicaps can play baseball. As a volunteer with the Miracle League, you help the children when it is their turn at bat, and then help them “run” the bases. You spend time with them playing in the outfield. Everyone wins in this situation. The parents get a chance to see their children having fun and taking part in a sport that is normally not available to them. The children have such joy on their faces when the cheering starts as they make their way around the bases. And as a volunteer, I experience such a sense of gratitude when I am one of many volunteers getting to have that one-on-one experience of bringing happiness to a child.

Giving Back

“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” ~Winston Churchill
Finding opportunities to volunteer during the time of a pandemic may be more difficult, but it is not impossible. Here are some of the opportunities I found online:

  • Soldier’s Angels – send letters, cards and/or care packages to deployed soldiers
  • Hospice organizations – create birthday baskets, blankets, other items for patients
  • Meals on Wheels – help package or deliver meals
  • Tutoring – online tutoring for students that are struggling with virtual school
  • Food pantries
  • Red Cross
  • Polling places will need volunteers

Do something good for your community, for humanity, and for yourself. Volunteer!

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