Have you noticed that when we are feeling down, we usually seek to ease our struggle by TAKING something (medication, food, prescription, a hug, a walk, a yoga class, three deep breaths, etc). While these all have a place and are helpful in their own ways, it is rare that people think about GIVING more to ease their pain.
We are conditioned to associate service with: work, chores, and giving of our energy/time. So, why would someone want to do that on their free time, and especially when they are feeling down or low energy?
For one, research shows that acts of kindness towards others makes a significantly positive impact on our quality of life and decreases the feelings of depression and anxiety.
It turns out, selfless service is one of the best remedies for improved mental, emotional, physical, and social wellbeing.
I noticed this for myself, and began to get curious around why service had this impact.
I got some insight when I looked into the breakdown of the word 'Seva'-which is the Sanskrit word for selfless service.
Seva originates from the sanskrit root word saha, meaning “with that,” and eva, meaning “too.” Thus, seva means “together with.”
Ahhh now it began to make such sense.
....The feeling of separateness is the ultimate illusion that causes humans to feel the most suffering and pain.
Feelings of isolation, abandonment, loneliness, and lack of purpose are common to individuals experiencing depression and illness. In fact, it hurts human beings so much to feel separate, that a famous research study revealed that we literally rather be abused than neglected... Any kind of attention/connection, even if abusive, is preferable over being left alone. Thats how much it hurts to feel isolated.
February, the month of valentines day, which many associate with "partnership", can be especially isolating to many people.
Service/Seva, directly translating to "together with", can be a perfect antidote! Being of service to others in need, brings an inherent sense of togetherness and belonging in a society that often feels fragmented and divided.
Additionally, when we service those in need, our sense of purpose and contribution are increased, which together with a sense of belonging, are the perfect ingredients to make a deliciously happy and fulfilled human being and community:)
*Note that I am speaking directly to SEVA - the action of being in selfless service/ giving of your time vs. 'DANA' which is the sanskrit word for generosity in the form of donations to charity.
As a testament of LOVE for yourself and your community, can you commit to SEVA/ volunteering at least once in the month of February?
If so, comment "yes!" below as well as WHERE you plan on volunteering.
If you don't know where, please use the comment section to ASK for suggestions! ..You can express a population of interest (children, elderly, animals, environment) or a skill you have to offer and our community will give you suggestions!
For those of you who are already involved with certain causes or are familiar with service/volunteer opportunities,
Please list them below!....I would love to give some options of causes we care about to those interested in taking this February Seva challenge on!
Here's to making February a month of "togetherness"!