Give the gift of service

Reading Time: 2 minutes During this holiday season, students can serve to bless the less fortunate. They may even find “long-lasting physical and psychological benefits” in return!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

For many, the holidays are full of family, food, shopping, and presents. It can be easy to get caught up in the receiving aspect of the holidays and forget that many people don’t have the things that people may take for granted. 

According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, service is defined as the “labor of body or of body and mind…for the benefit of another.” This could look like doing the dishes, helping your neighbor rake their leaves, volunteering at a homeless shelter, or being there for a friend. 

People can be grateful for what they have and help those less fortunate than us by doing simple acts of service. 

Hannah Opdyke, a UVU student double majoring in illustration and graphic design, likes to give whatever she has. She stated, “If I have cans of food, I give those. If I have an orange, I give that. I try to just give something.” 

Service helps the recipients as well as those serving. Mary Fotheringham, professor of graphic design at UVU, stated that “there are no words to describe the amazing feeling of helping someone.”

“Long-lasting physical and psychological benefits” can come from service, agrees Cone Health, a health care delivery system. Cone Health further explains that whether you give your time or your money to serve others, service can decrease blood pressure, lower stress levels, decrease anxiety and depression and even increase self-esteem. 

Why do these health benefits come from service? Family Counseling Service (FCS) explains that “[giving] of yourself to others helps you think less about the stressors in your life and allows you to give more attention to how you are alleviating some of the hardships others are facing.”  

As a result of thinking less about oneself and focusing more on others, FCS also explains that service “improves how you think about yourself, about the value you bring to those around you and provides a sense of accomplishment. It can even reduce stress and increase feelings of calm.”

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.” 

After experiencing “a heart full of grace” and “a soul generated by love,” service participants, either on the giving or receiving end, are left better than before. This holiday season, students can help those around them and expect a healthier life in return.

For more information on how to start serving, go to UVU Center for Social Impact and find out!