A 1988 article in Psychology Today reported on an experiment involving 1700 women under stress. The women participated in various projects that involved helping other people. Within 30 days, 85 percent of the women reported that they had been relieved of stress symptoms that included “stress-related disorders such as headaches, voice loss and even pain accompanying lupus and multiple sclerosis.”*
I suspect many people could save thousands of dollars on therapy and antidepressants if they would just take time to serve others. The best way to get beyond our pain is to get outside of it. I discovered this in my own journey through a particular dark time. I decided to serve others even though I was in great emotional pain. This had a remarkable positive effect on my emotional state.
When we refocus our attention on the needs of others when we ourselves are in turmoil, it allows the burden of our circumstance to be removed from us. The more one focuses on their own problem the more likely you are to become depressed.
Isaiah understood a principle that is still valid today. If you find yourself depressed because of a circumstance in your life, take Isaiah’s advice-begin to praise the Lord in spite of the circumstances you see. Then you will see the spirit of heaviness begin to be lifted. (Article by Os Hillman, TGIF)
*Allan Luks, “Helper’s High: Volunteering Makes People Feel Good, Physically and Emotionally,” Psychology Today, October 1988. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1175/is_n10_v22/ai_6652854 (accessed April 2006).