The frenzied pace of holiday shopping is about to explode with consumer-based ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’. However, in 2013, Canada embraced the global movement launched to counter this consumerism, called ‘Giving Tuesday’. Just as Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season, Giving Tuesday is the opening day of the giving season. Canadians from […]
Small acts of kindness speak volumes
The frenzied pace of holiday shopping is about to explode with consumer-based ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’.
However, in 2013, Canada embraced the global movement launched to counter this consumerism, called ‘Giving Tuesday’. Just as Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season, Giving Tuesday is the opening day of the giving season. Canadians from coast to coast are encouraged to raise money, donate to charity or volunteer.
Small acts of kindness speak volumes; they encourage us to renew our faith in the presence of good in our lives.
And, while Giving Tuesday is all about doing good things for others, did you know that giving is also good for our own health?
In his book Why Good Things Happen to Good People, Stephen Post, a professor of preventative medicine at Stony Brook University, reports that giving to others has been shown to increase health benefits in people with chronic illness, including HIV and multiple sclerosis.
The idea that giving is good for both the recipient and the giver is embedded in many religious and philosophical traditions. Only recently has medical science begun to take note of the health benefits and ask: “Why do they occur?”
The answer to this question will be long in coming, if investigated only and entirely from a bio-medical standpoint. Because, fundamentally, the answer lies in expanding our understanding of the Divine and how we are all connected to one spiritual (not material) source of life and goodness.
As an avid student of the Bible, I’ve run across references that give us a glimpse of this correlation between health and giving – for example, in Isaiah, where the prophet says: “…deal thy bread to the hungry….and bring the poor that are cast out to thy house….then shall thy light break forth as the morning and thine health shall spring forth speedily.”
Giving is good for our health
Forgetting our own needs and anxieties and expressing kindness and consideration towards another can bring healing. I like to think of this as ‘active unselfishness’.
One day while busy with Christmas errands and shopping, I was feeling the symptoms of a cold coming on. It made the errand running more difficult. However, there was a mother with a young unhappy child that was having a harder day than me. So I put my ‘to do’ list aside and helped her out with navigating the busy mall and tending to her child. Her gratitude was boundless and by the end of the shopping, my cold symptoms had completely vanished.
A single act may seem so trivial that it might not be classified as rendering a service, but compassion, kindness, and generosity – these health-giving qualities come from within each of us. They show our mutual tie to that one Divine source of goodness and life. It’s inevitable that this blesses others and makes us all healthier.
This article was published in several online Metroland publications, such as Mississauga News.