It's easy to drop some change into the can of a charity that's ringing a bell outside of your grocery store, to round up your bill for the charity of your choice at a restaurant, to buy a raffle ticket, to donate clothing. While all of those are lovely actions, we have the opportunity to make a bigger impact on this planet.
The word Seva in Sanskrit means selfless service. It's the work we do with no expectation of getting anything back. It's how we help others, how we show up as our best selves, without any thought of personal reward or benefit.
It probably doesn't surprise you that the act of giving has been the subject of many scientific studies. Their overall findings: Giving is good for your health. It reduces depression, releases endorphins (which reduce stress and pain levels), and can literally help you live longer. Without a doubt, giving is a really good thing.
With so many options, so many people and places in need, it can be daunting to decide who and what to help.
I recently held a workshop on how to plan out your decade and your year. One of the areas we covered was how we give. We have access to an infinite number of organizations that can use our love and support.
If you don't know where to begin, take a moment and close your eyes, then think about the things that are near and dear to your heart. Maybe you're an animal lover, maybe you're affected by a horrible disease, maybe you're passionate about a cause. Certainly all of these options have a charitable organization available for you to help out.
So what can you do to give, to be of service to others?
*Volunteer: Find a local organization, offer to help a neighbor, do a beach cleanup. So many opportunities to help fill your soul and help those in need.
*Make a financial donation: Your hard-earned cash can make a huge difference, especially when going towards a local organization. It doesn't have to be a large sum to have a big impact.
*Register your shopping accounts with your favorite charity. Companies like Ralph's, Vons, and Amazon will donate a portion of your purchases to the causes of your choice (most have to be a nonprofit to receive these contributions, however).
With so many ways to be of service, you're sure to find the one that brings a sparkle to your eyes and help to those who could really use it. Share the ways that you give in the comments below to help inspire others...