Care Changes Lives
Care is a valuable and vital resource; it revitalizes and acts as a soothing tonic for our nervous system. Caring is a powerful motivator; it inspires us and gently revitalizes us. Genuine care comes from the depth of our being, the core of our heart. Care is regenerative for both the sender and receiver. Increasing genuine care can change our lives and perhaps the world.
Through my journey of learning to nourish my heart, I came to realize how important care is. It may seem obvious that nourishing and caring go together, but for many of us, we forget that caring is a feeling, an attitude, a quality into which we put our heart. Caring is a choice; and I find that the more I choose to feel care, the more nourished I become.
I’d like to share with you some caring facts to highlight how important caring for others is to our health and well-being. We will also be having a month-long Facebook contest to honor the caring and dedication of nonprofit organizations as part of our HeartMath for Communities Project.
Five Caring Facts:
- Caring interacts with the heart — literally: Institute of HeartMath (IHM) research found that our physical heart plays a dynamic role in generating positive emotions and creating feelings of elation during acts of caring and altruism. J. Andrew Armour, a leading neurocardiologist and member of IHM’s Scientific Advisory Board, found that the heart contains cells that synthesize and release the so-called feel-good hormones: dopamine and norepinephrine.
- Caring can increase feelings of joy and relieve stress: States of joy and delight can result from giving to others. When you are altruistic — helping someone — your oxytocin level goes up, which helps relieve stress and create the feeling of elation. It has recently been discovered that the heart produces oxytocin, commonly referred to as the love or bonding hormone, and the concentrations of oxytocin found in the heart are as high as those found in the brain.
- Caring can be contagious: Elation makes us feel great and perform good acts, according to an “elevation study” published in the journal Psychological Science. Researchers studied individuals who watched TV clips that prompted various moods and found that those who viewed uplifting clips were more likely to engage in altruistic behavior soon after.
- Caring can mean better health: HeartMath research has found that caring, like other positive emotions, increases smoothness in the heart’s rhythmic pattern and improves the health of our heart, immune and hormonal systems. In a Cornell University study that followed more than 313 women for 30 years, researchers found 52 percent of women who did not engage in volunteer work experienced a major illness, compared with only 36 percent of those who volunteered in their communities.*
- Caring is a big part of the U.S. Economy: Nonprofits and charities comprise about 10 percent of the U.S. workforce according to Guidestar, and pay nearly $540 billion in wages each year according the National Council of Nonprofits.
These times are especially stressful for many charities and nonprofits experiencing limited funding and increased demand to serve more people each day. The Institute of HeartMath is internationally recognized for our science-based techniques, programs, services and technology, which have been used by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide since 1991. We have received many requests for these programs from nonprofit organizations whose staff are overwhelmed by the workload and do not have the funds to bring in programs that can help them.
To honor and care for the nonprofit organizations providing so much care and vitality within our communities, we want to invite you, their constituents, to help reward them for their dedication and hard work through our “Recognizing Community Care” contest. We hope this contest will also raise awareness about the critical and often unseen role that nonprofit organizations play in our lives.
People from around the world may nominate their three favorite local nonprofits, or those who work for a nonprofit organization may nominate their own nonprofit in the “Recognizing Community Care” contest. There is an International Prize as well as a Grand Prize and Runner-Up Prize for U.S. and Canadian nonprofits. Simply fill out the submission form, and include a short description, up to 250 words, of the work your nonprofit nominee does and the difference it is making in your community. The contest ends May 31, 2011, so be sure to submit nominations as soon as possible. After submitting your nomination, encourage family, friends, coworkers and others in the community to vote, because the top five entries receiving the most votes will be our finalists.
The Winnings Are…
Grand Prize (Non-profits in the U.S. and Canada only): The grand-prize nonprofit winner will designate a staff member, volunteer or associated consultant to be trained as a licensed presenter of HeartMath’s “The Resilient Organization — Building Staff and Organizational Coherence.”** The grand prize includes all training, materials, license, support, airfare up to $400, and room and board at the Institute of HeartMath campus in Boulder Creek, Calif. The total value of this prize is $2,025.
Runner-up Prize (Non-profits in the USA and Canada only): The runner-up nonprofit winner will designate a staff member, volunteer or associated consultant to be trained as a licensed presenter of HeartMath’s “The De-Stress Workshop”*** and will go through HeartMath’s Qualified Instructor Training. This training will be given via telephone mentoring sessions, interactive webinar-based learning and home study. This prize, including all training, materials, license and support, is valued at $1,295.
International Prize: The International nonprofit (a nonprofit outside the United States and Canada) winner will receive an emWave2® and emWave® Desktop for Mac/PC, the book The HeartMath Solution and HeartMath’s Transforming Stress Book Series: Transforming Stress, Transforming Anxiety, Transforming Anger and Transforming Depression. This prize is valued at more than $575. Shipping is included. (International Licenses outside the United States and Canada are not yet available.)
* Moen, Phyllis, Donna Dempster-McClain, and Robin M. Williams Jr. 1992. Successful Aging: A Life-Course Perspective on Women’s Multiple Roles and Health — American Journal of Sociology, 97:1612-38.
**”The Resilient Organization — Building Staff and Organizational Coherence” provides the tools necessary to help nonprofit staff increase morale and well-being, improve coherent communication between themselves and those they serve, and strengthen resilience (the ability to prepare for and recoup from challenging situations).
***”The De-Stress Workshop: Simple Tools for Renewing Yourself in These Stressful Times” provides nonprofit staff and the people they serve with an understanding of the adverse effects of negative emotional responses to events in their lives. Hands-on instruction teaches them how to respond in ways that lead to more desirable outcomes, emotional well-being and healthier living. Staff and volunteers of community and family service agencies, parent and education organizations, religious organizations and other nonprofit entities can be trained and licensed to deliver this workshop, free of charge to those they serve.