It’s a No Brainer: Generosity Can Make You Healthier!
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
The other day, I was reading (wait for it…) a newspaper (a real one, in my hands!). Yes, you can experience one on the second Sunday of every other month – if the stars align with Venus de Milo – because newspapers are becoming that rare. I was so excited to hold this collectible in my hands that I nearly missed the headline: “BE GENEROUS” with a subtitle that read, “It’s a simple way to stay healthy.”
Now this is no news to you, faithful readers. Generosity, as you already know, can benefit your life in so many ways. I know this to be true because people who are way smarter than me – I think they are called “scientists” – have done studies that prove generosity has many health benefits.
Happiness: Giving, rather than getting makes you happier. The article cites the following example: If you receive a Starbucks card it makes you no happier than if you hadn’t received one at all. However, if you give a Starbucks coffee card to someone else, your happiness quotient goes way up. It’s all in the act of deliberately giving to some one or to some thing that makes the difference.
Overall Health: Check this out – an on-line survey of 4,500 people found that those who volunteer have “less trouble sleeping, less anxiety, less helplessness and hopelessness, better friendships and social networks, and a sense of control over chronic conditions.” Volunteering is a miracle drug!
Lower risk of Dementia: This is great news for those of us of a (ahem) certain age. “Volunteering is likely to reduce the risk of dementia and is associated with reduced symptoms of depression, better self-reported health, fewer functional limitations, and lower mortality.” Yeehaw! Let’s see how long I can live!
Lower Blood Pressure: A June 2013 Carnegie Mellon study found that adults who “volunteered four hours a week were 40% less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who did not volunteer.” Once again, generosity: the miracle drug.
Your congregation deserves to know the incredible health benefits of generosity as they give their time, talents, and treasure. While we aren’t usually thinking about getting something in return when we give a donation or when we volunteer, research says the benefits we receive are clear. And benefits are not a bad thing at all. Make sure your congregation is given the opportunity to frequently exercise their generosity gene and see just how healthy you all become.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2.5 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She is wondering if she can find a way to bottle generosity and sell it as a miracle drug. But that would defeat its purpose. Bummer. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation; she is available to consult with churches in Oregon and Idaho. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.