If you’re anything like me, then there is always something to complain about! Here are a couple complaints you might relate to…”it’s too hot outside”,  “my coach is playing favorites”, “I wish I had more money”. If you took time to reflect on you thoughts on a daily basis, you might be surprised to see that you are much more negative than you may have thought!

In a 2013 study, the Harris Poll Happiness Index found that happiness is on the decline for many subsets of the American population compared to just a few years prior. Will this trend continue? I don’t think it has to. I know for certain of one thing, that if we can incorporate into our lifestyle, would not only boost our spirits but also the spirits of those around us, and that is serving.

In an article written for MSN Health and Fitness, Lisa Farino cites many interesting research findings regarding people who give generously and their happiness level. The post found that anxiety, stress, and depression all involve intense focus on ourselves (self-consumption), and that doing something for other people actually can replace those self destructive thoughts.

 “When you’re experiencing compassion, benevolence, and kindness, they push aside the negative emotions.” “One of the best ways to overcome stress is to do something to help someone else.”

Steven Post, Ph.D. and Professor at University of Chicago Medical School

Post isn’t the first one to discover this. The Bible actually describes this same exact principle!

 18-20 My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it.

1 John 3:18-19 (MSG)

Practicing love, in this case by giving to others, shuts down our self-criticism by focusing on others others as opposed to only our own stress.

So how can you get involved in giving? There are a lot of great ways to serve in the community. The BACC sponsors E-sports around the Bay Area where you can be a volunteer coach to help children with and without special needs to excel in athletics. Or you can participate in the annual BACC Special Contribution which helps raise money to invest in raising up youth to lead in a positive way in our church and in the community.

Find some time this week to give back. Your emotional wellbeing will thank you for it!