Contributed by Nicholas Pediaditakis, MD, DLFAPA
It may sound strange coming from a practicing physician to urge — often for my patients’ welfare and well-being — to try and do things outside of themselves in order to keep a sense of proportion and healthy lifestyle. I may then sound like a preacher — after all, all faiths do urge acts of altruism and participation in the common welfare of the community we live in — as I urge them to always have an activity not only for their own immediate needs and welfare exclusively for themselves and their family but, in addition, to be involved in an activity or cause for the welfare of the community, in order to maintain a balance for ourselves and a sense of well-being.
After all, this need is not just for obeying directives by various faiths, but, it is a vital imperative demanded by our very nature and make up. We should not neglected; It is a need for maintaining a feeling of usefulness and a sense of meaning and belonging among our fellow humans. Social beings as we are, such as being a volunteer fireman, or offering your services for the elderly and infirm, or taking others to voting places, or tutoring children in school. If your skills permit, you might teach remedial english and mathematics, or be a scout leader, or promote a clean and green community. The list is endless.
This can often be done by joining organizations and groups promoting altruism and collective acts of kindness; such as the Kiwanis club or religious groups in the church we belong too.
Failing to do so, we may end up as a kind of scrooge — an isolated, unnatural island-being, “punished” by feeling constantly irritable, suspicious, paranoid, and pessimistic if we are looking only after ourselves and our immediate family.
Copyright © 2015 by Nicholas Pediaditakis, MD