Selfless Giving Equals Healthy Living

This week’s guest blogger is Dawn-Marie Cornett, Christian Science practitioner and community-involved mom of three. She writes from her home in Framingham, MA.

You could say we’re all trying to get something: health, happiness, safety, companionship, etc.  Yet for many, one or more of these very right and understandable desires seem illusive.

Researchers have found that compassion, honesty, and the like tend to result in improved well-being. There are pages of studies on the health-giving effects of “being good.” But a book I read a few years ago gave me a new perspective on the topic.

Why Good Things Happen to Good People by Dr. Stephen Post and Jill Neimark starts off with this little idea: “If I could take one word into eternity, it would be ‘give.'” Hmm . . . only one word forever, and it’s not “get.” It’s “give.” The whole book explains how selfless giving–deep, persistent, and unselfish love–is the key to having good in our lives. We give it because we already have it.

Haven’t we all heard stories of people who, when faced with adversity, choose not to turn inward but instead end up being an inspiration and blessing to others by serving their community? It’s more than a good attitude about bad times. It’s a passionate devotion to doing good for others. According to Dr. Post and Neimark, ” . . . scientists are discovering the deep, remarkable impact of benevolent behavior on our mental and physical health.”

So how does this inform our lives? A start is to look at our days, our jobs, our homes as tools that help us be a blessing. According to this book, seeing these as opportunities rather than impositions leads to being healthier and happier. Looking for ways to be of service from an honest perspective of love and care for others results in seeing the good, the love, the health, the reward that has actually always been present with us. Dr. Post and Neimark simply state, “Giving will protect you your whole life long.”

Jesus taught his followers to serve others by preaching and healing, and he taught them to serve each other in the most tender and humble ways.

Author and religious leader Mary Baker Eddy saw the connection, over 100 years ago, of health and happiness to gracious service. Her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, has been instrumental in my understanding of how to maintain physical and mental health, based on Jesus’ teachings. She wrote this in her book: “Giving does not impoverish us in the service of our Maker, neither does withholding enrich us.”

So, as one of the first acts of my freshly invigorated desire to serve, I highly recommend reading both these books. They each play an important role in molding one’s life for good. May everyone discover the gift of giving.

For further reading:

Can a Town’s Good Deeds Lower Unemployment?

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks, Dawn-Marie! As you said, giving surely does bring blessing too! There was a time in my life when I was so lonely and depressed, but when I prayed about it, what came to me to do was to go out and help others. I found that going to various nursing homes and reading the Bible to residents, reading periodicals or the Bible together with Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy to those of my own faith who were in need, stepping up my work for church, helping in my community by volunteering to lead hikes and be a member of a non-profit group that helps our state forests, really turned my life around from being lonely and boring to being full, friend-filled, and fruitful.

    There are so many things that need doing! Isn’t it wonderful that helping others blesses the receiver and the giver?!

  2. Sharla Allard says

    What a lovely spirit this blog has, and the comments lifted me up as well. One of my mom’s memorable sayings was “Remember, you’re going to this party to give, not to get!” How great to know we’re “wired” (because made by an unselfish God) to give and are not base, selfish, me-firsters.

  3. Dave says

    Very interesting,
    When you take the time to look about and see what people are doing for others in their day to day lives, it can be quite humbling. Just yesterday, I heard of a friend that as he was on his daily run, came across a small kitten who was obviously in need of food and a home. He took it to his Mom’s house (who already had two cats) who fixed a little box for it, and fed it, and a day later, he found a new home for it with a friend who he was sure would take good care of it. Then there are care givers, nurses and the list goes on. I have to say that the most rewarding experience of my life was having the privilege of caring for a dear friend over the last 4 years of his life. I’ll never forget it!

  4. Virginia McCullough says

    Thank you, Dawn Marie, for the ideas in this blog. Very interesting about the importance of giving. Giving certainly seems to be part of my granddaughter loving her trip to South Africa to work in an orphanage for a couple of weeks. It was her desire to go.

    Also can’t help but think of Mary Baker Eddy founding The Christian Science Monitor at least partly in response to the yellow journalism of her day that was attacking her — responding to something bad by doing something good.