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Life Meaning: Supporting a Worthy Cause Can Help Give Life Meaning

Volunteer Work Helps You Find Meaning and Happiness

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Updated September 22, 2011

Life Meaning: Supporting a Worthy Cause Can Help Give Life Meaning
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People are generally more happy when they have meaning in their lives, and part of living a meaningful life is having a feeling of making a difference in the world. Oprah recently demonstrated the "giver's high" one experiences when helping others by replacing her usually holiday giveaway show with a show where she inspires and enables audience members to give away $1000 in any way they choose; the audience agreed that what they got back was greater than what they gave. Whether you donate unneeded household items, give money, or volunteer your time, there are many ways to get involved with worthy causes, either as an individual, as a couple, or with the involvement of the whole family. Getting involved with a cause that you believe in, whether you give a little or a lot, can be a great way to spread the joy this year, and create more joy for yourself while you’re at it! The following are some examples of simple ways to get involved:
  • Clean House And Make A Difference: Because there are many charities that collect donations and run resale shops, you can clear clutter and help a worthy cause at the same time. Donate household items to a charity that is in line with your values, whether it’s Amvets (supporting veterans), Discovery Shops (supporting Cancer research), the Salvation Army (supporting those in need) or another type of charity. While many of us have cluttered homes because we can’t bear to toss something that can still be useful (though unnecessary for us), it can be easier to let go of these items knowing that they’ll help in two ways: they’ll provide someone else a chance to find use in them, and the money from their sale can further a cause you believe in! You’ll end up with increased satisfaction and a more streamlined living space, and others will benefit from your unneeded items.
  • Give A Little Or A Lot: Give money, even if it’s just a little bit, to a cause you truly believe in. Whether you’d like to help extremely impoverished and starving families on other continents, further research on a disease that has touched your life, keep drunk drivers off the road, or stop global warming, there are hundreds of worthy charities that could all use funds. And while you may think that your $30 is just a drop in the bucket and can’t produce any significant change, every little bit does help. For example, at UNICEF, $15 can buy 250 sachets of oral rehydration salts for children who don’t have clean water; at ChangingThePresent.org, there is a whole selection of ways you can help the world with as little as $5. Small donations can literally save lives or help save the planet, and can bring a real sense of pride in helping to make the world a better place.
  • Volunteer Your Time: If you have more time than money, you can really make a difference in a charity or political cause that’s important to you by donating your time. This a a great route for many people as it leads to the satisfaction of making a difference, provides an outlet to meet others who share your passion, and often allows you the opportunity to see the difference you make and the people you help.

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