“People who are addicted will find that they are doing something…all the time.”
(page 159 of Stressed-Less Living by Tracie Miles)
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Hi, I am Pat, and I am a former endorphin junkie. One of my spiritual gifts is the gift of helps. I tell you this not to brag on myself, but to explain how I became addicted to helping others.
Ten years ago I went back to college at age 42. One of my first classes was a speech class (more on my aversion to public speaking in a later post). My speech professor gave us many topics to speak about, but my favorite was a speech on a quote. I chose this: “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25)
As I studied the effect of helping others I found out that when we do something nice for another person, our bodies release endorphins. Our bodies produce endorphins during exercise and/or excitement, and this substance gives us a nice feeling of well-being. Ever hear of a “runner’s high”? This is produced by endorphins. In preparation of my speech, I read the book The Healing Power of Doing Good by Dr. Allan Luks; numerous studies showed how elderly people who do volunteer work actually live longer. Since the printing of this book, more studies have been done by other doctors using MRIs to show the effects on the brain when people do acts of charity or nice things for others.
As I gathered research for my speech, I was so amazed at how God made our bodies. What I did NOT learn was that even though we ARE refreshed from helping others, we can also get addicted to this feeling. People who are addicted to helping are addicted to the “feeling of feeling good” that is produced from the endorphins. Without realizing it, I had done this. As I helped more and more (sometimes WITHOUT praying first—a GREAT BIG NO-NO!!), I became more and more stressed. It was a very vicious cycle that thankfully the LORD showed me a few years ago. He delivered me from this addiction and now I always pray before saying “yes”… and my life is way less stressful.
Are you a helping junkie? My prayer is that you will ask the LORD to reveal this to you and that you seek Him first before saying “yes”.