I often find myself pondering the many facets of life and their ambiguity. What I mean by that is you never really know what life will throw at you and when it will be thrown. I find myself constantly trying to control certain facets of my existence such as things at work or school or even in my personal life which I really have no control over to start with. This craving to control these uncontrollable factors often causes stress and a standard of living that is hard to live up to. So I find myself at the end of the week mentally and physically exhausted with a desire to hit the town and get a little rowdy. Often though, because of my lack of energy I will often resist the urge to go out with friends to “take it easy for a night” or catch my breath so to say.
This creates a big problem for me, not only have I now turned down a good opportunity to let loose but through doing so I cause myself more stress because the relaxing I chose to do did me nothing but restore a bit of energy. I still have a desire to go out but I again turn it down because stress causes me to think about what needs to be done tomorrow or this upcoming week. This cycle of unmet desires and a need to get important things done causes a lot of stress and before I know it the weekend is over and its back to the grind of life. I have found that in this vicious cycle it is necessary to find an outlet for stress, something you can tap into and will help alleviate all the stress of a week gone by and help to cease thinking of tomorrow and just slow down and live in the now.
Serving others has become this outlet for me. Though I will admit, I still have that dread of getting to the service site and spending my time, pay free, doing something for someone else. I know that sounds bad, but I think almost all of us have that thought in our head at least once before doing service, but I go anyways because it helps me to slow down and appreciate the small things and the things I take for granted on a daily basis. Not only does it do wonders for me, but it always helps whoever your serving. Regardless of if it is direct or indirect service (to the clients) it promotes a good feeling, a release of stress, and ultimately is generally a good use of time.
I think it is necessary to experience different kinds of service throughout one’s life to have the same epiphany I did. One service experience won’t always reveal the true benefits of serving others. Maybe you aren’t good with people but you love dogs. Find sites where you can walk dogs of a humane society, not only will you gain a lot from that but the dogs will immensely benefit from kind human interaction and care that they typically don’t get a lot of due to their circumstances. Maybe you’re not good with kids but you have always connected well with the elderly. Go to a nursing home and spend some time with the elders, you will not only gain a better understanding of them and learn something along the way but they will enjoy your company and a good conversation that many people take for granted. I think that service to others is one of the highest forms of charity, because one person giving their time to someone or something else can have a huge ripple effect.
But maybe you’re not like me, I probably just think way too much, maybe you already have that stress outlet in something or someone else. But do yourself and your community the favor of donating your time to a good cause, especially if you have never done service before. Yes you may have that same drudging idea I have before going to do service, but that thought quickly fades and the time you put in is always worth the intrinsic rewards gained from serving others. So give it a try and find out what service does for you!
By : Taylor Matysik, BUSN200 Student Facilitator