Stress moderation is at the top of the pillars of health care wisdom for the empowered volunteer. You can actually die from stress related effects.
When volunteers think of how to work their time around volunteer projects they don’t automatically think of stress. Their passion for the volunteer group or the charity supported by the group helps them prioritize their emotions and their time management. Simply put, they make it work no matter how much effort it takes to get the job done.
For the empowered volunteer, what is the incentive for someone who is not already involved in the represented group to join, pending their busy, busy, busy schedule? Obviously if they have a passion for the charity they might be persuaded. But what if they are not passionate for the charity? What then? They say that they are too stressed and that they don’t have any time! Then the empowered volunteer needs to refer to the pillars of health wisdom!
The empowered volunteer is all about helping people. That must be the first priority, above all other things.
If you put people first, the other things will find a way to resolve themselves, one way or another. Happy passionate people solve problems and they also brag about the experience. They also have better health, statistically speaking. First, let’s tackle the stress issue and then we will address the other health studies and how they affect our message.
Stress is manageable in our lives. But for those who find themselves under extreme stress they should explore the science discoveries from the power of positivity.
This topic was addressed by Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph. D. in her book, nicely named Positivity! In it she presents credible and robust scientific evidence on how proper meditation helps humans deal with stress. Then she moves on to give concrete examples of how to meditate and other features in order to help drive your health benefits from lowering the effects from stress on your body. She has placed guided meditations and other simple tools on her website, which is very easy to use and worthy of a visit for anyone who would like to feel better in our stressful world. This kind of easy to do it yourself stress modification is why Dr. Fredrickson’s book and website are a pillar of wisdom for the empowered volunteer.
Once you go to the site, use the tools tab or the take the test tab and see how you are faring on an individual level. With over two decades of research on this subject along with tons of behavioral science supporting data going back several more decades it is worth checking it out and seeing if you can benefit. To be honest, everyone can benefit unless you just don’t want to let it help you. Meditation has been used by many civilizations for thousands of years, from Christians like St. Augustine to Chinese Kung Fu monks.
Never underestimate how you can improve your life with small changes that affect your health in a magnified way beyond the small time and effort you expend.
Decades of data from research into how social status affects your health are also available and helpful for the empowered volunteer to understand for their pillars of health wisdom. Scientists use the term social economic status (SES) for these kinds of studies and conversations about them. SES is in general terms an individual’s social level in society. Usually this is divided into three areas, low or working class, middle class and upper middle class or upper class status levels. Low class is the working people, usually living from pay check to pay check. Poverty level is below this group.
Middle class is the group who was lifted by many factors after WWII, but one of the most controversial was the GI Bill, which allowed many of those returning from the war to attend college and then better their lives with better paying jobs and more upward mobility. In this case, a veterans group was instrumental in helping pass this important piece of legislation, one which in looking back historians and economics agree was a huge success.
Harry W. Colmery, a former national commander of the American Legion and former Republican National Chairman, is credited with drawing up the first draft of the GI Bill.
Some people reading this will be surprised that a former Republican Party National Chairman could have been involved with promoting a middle class path towards education back in the days after WWII. Back then, only the very rich could afford college. But keep in mind, political parties change over time and their policies change over time too.
The GOP today is not your grandfather’s party! The current Republican Party thinking on education is reflective of some of those changes in mindset regarding middle class education at the high school level as well as for higher education and is thus beyond the scope of this post.
SES is very important to the empowered volunteer from the point of those who are least likely to be volunteering and which also can benefit the most from volunteering, health wise.
Upper middle class is more often defined as someone who has physical assets which generate enough income so that if that person suddenly stopped their regular employment they could still live off their passive income. This status level is worthy of achievement and is the focus of another pillar of wisdom, that of wealth which will be addressed in a forthcoming post. For our purposes here, the higher the status the better the likely hood of good health is expected.
Michael Marmot, in his ground breaking book 2004 book, The Status Syndrome, How Social Standing Affects Our Health and Longevity has reviewed and distilled the data results from over three decades of studies in order to write about how we can benefit from this knowledge.
One key to his book was that if someone has little autonomy over their lives, as most working class people find themselves, then they are more likely to have lower health.
This is true for many countries beyond the United States too. It goes further though, for those people reporting “the greater the degree of inequality of material deprivation and of income, the worse the health.” He found that low control over one’s life to be the big central factor that linked everything to health, happiness, etc.
In America’s past labor unions were often the only way for laborers to exert any form of control over their lives. Before the unions formed, safety and other factors we take for granted today were not common in many industries.
For those people then and even today in many industries, having some control over their life could determine their future health. Volunteering is one path towards restoring some form of control over one’s life if it is not found elsewhere. Each person can control how much they volunteer and where, and to what extent for each group they join.
This kind of life control opportunity can help them if they are in a job where they have little or no control over their lives.
The main thing here is that no matter what your station in life, you can do things to help your health and your mental or emotional wellbeing. The positivity ratio is so simple once you start that you will wonder why you have not heard of it before. I would suggest starting with the guided meditation and then moving on where ever you are comfortable. This tool is absolutely awesome for its potential to help people with high stress jobs.
The health harming aspects attributed to many working class jobs should surprise no one. They have been apparent for generations of American workers. From swing shifts to heated environments too hot to stay in for very long to extended nursing hours for patient coverage. The potential ways to combat the negative effects seem to have escaped the general public’s notice, until now hopefully. Even middle class American’s can use this information to their advantage so that the stress from the job doesn’t inflict further harm to your health.
Knowing the health harming effects of low autonomy is important for the health of employees and management.