Valdosta Daily Times

Breaking News:

Local News

January 2, 2014

The art of being good

VALDOSTA — Countless people have walked on the earth, and only a handful of them are required to be remembered.

Some are only remembered for the wrongs they committed, Genghis Khan, Leopold II of Belgium, or Vlad Dracula, but there are others who are remembered for their humanitarianism such as, Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Abraham Lincoln.

The important question to ask yourself is how do you want history to remember you? Even if only your family and friends remember you, your legacy is all you truly leave behind.

Community service has a negative connotation because when someone breaks the law, community service is often dished out as a punishment. But in reality, serving the community is one of the best things you can do for others, and for yourself.

“There are so many people in Valdosta doing good things for this community,” said Dr. Thomas Hochschild, a Valdosta State University assistant professor of sociology. “There are a lot of reasons to do good things both, psychologically and physically. A lot of research shows that by helping others or by volunteering in the community, it increases your life expectancy, it decreases depression, and it decreases stress levels.”

This begs the question, “Is there ever a truly altruistic act?” To make this question even harder to answer, Hochschild explained a phenomenon called the “Helper’s High,” that occurs when you help others, or provide a selfless service.

“It makes you feel good about yourself, and that’s associated with lower levels of depression and increased vitality,” Hochschild said.

Volunteering requires you to get off of the couch, Hochschild explained.

“If you’re lifting cans at Second Harvest, then you’re up, you’re moving, you’re getting your heart rate up, so that’s the physical aspect. Then there’s the helper’s high, feeling like you’re making a difference.”

More than the emotional and physical benefits, Hochschild discussed how goodness ripples outwards into the “Ripple Effect.”

“The ripple effect occurs whenever you’re good to people,” Hochschild said. “A study by a Harvard sociologist found when people give money to others, those people are more likely to give money and pay it forward to other people, and it created this sort-of like ripple effect. This really happens in real life, and there’s research to back this up. It creates this positive ripple effect.”

Extending farther than money, this also occurs with good deeds. If you are a positive influence in the community, and people see your acts of kindness, then they are more likely to replicate your  actions. It is no surprise that this also works in the opposite direction. If you are irritated at the super market, then you are more likely to make someone else irritated, too.

Community service, Hochschild argues, is something we should be teaching our kids. It is something society should want to do — once a week or once a month.

Whether it is for selfish reasons, such as the helper’s high, or completely altruistic, at the end of the day, community service helps others.

“One way or another, even if you’re doing nothing, you’re having an effect on others, so what do you want to do with your life? Do you want to set a bad example or a good example?” Hochschild asked.

So, hold the door for that random stranger, let the person in line behind you with two items jump in front of you and your full shopping cart, or take an hour or two out of your week and volunteer at one of the organizations around your community.

This is the best way to live your life because you are guaranteed to leave a lasting impact on those that you meet. Who knows, you might even make it into the history books.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 140417-Rail_Plan-001.jpg State Transportation seeks public input on rail plan

    The Georgia Department of Transportation held public meetings across the state this week to discuss its 2014 Georgia State Rail Plan.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140417-valdosta_appr#10C8BA.jpg Officials serve lunch to city employees

    The City of Valdosta hosted its annual employee appreciation luncheon Thursday at John W. Saunders Memorial Park.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140417-Wiregrass003.jpg Wiregrass learns through play

    For three years, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College has hosted its Wired Up! event to engage students, faculty and staff in a fun but educational activity day.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • rain.jpg More spills? Valdosta braces for more rain

    In the past four weeks, Valdosta has experienced four major rain events that dumped more than three to four inches of rain on the area per incident.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140117-Scott_SGMAC-001.jpg Moody in running for Afghan pilot mission

    Moody Air Force Base is one of three military bases being considered for a temporary mission to train Afghan pilots next year, Rep. Austin Scott told the South Georgia Military Affairs Council Thursday.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • City: Most overflows stopped

    The City of Valdosta reported Wednesday evening that all manhole overflows resulting from Tuesday’s heavy rains had stopped, with the exception of two.

    April 17, 2014

  • 140416-gov_deal002.jpg Signed into law

    Gov. Nathan Deal went on a signing tour Wednesday across Georgia, flying into the Valdosta Regional Airport to sign three bills into law.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 2 charged in N.C. kidnapping

    Two more people were charged in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor’s father, bringing the number to at least eight people who authorities say were involved in the elaborate plot.

    April 17, 2014

  • VSU opens spring senior art show Saturday

    Several graduating art seniors will present their show this weekend at Valdosta State University.

    April 17, 2014

  • 140415-water003.jpg Sewage problems persist

    Early Tuesday morning, Valdosta became saturated when the area received approximately three inches of rain from 4 a.m. to noon. As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, 11 manholes throughout the City of Valdosta have spilled 286,500 gallons of wastewater into local waterways, and this number will continue to rise.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

Top News
Poll

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results