Whether we volunteer or donate to charities, we all know that giving helps others. Did you know, though, that the warm and fuzzy feeling you get from helping others is also beneficial to your health?
Giving has been shown in studies to improve your physical and emotional wellness.
It can have various health advantages, whether you are helping at a soup kitchen or committing to raising funds for a specific charity.
People who are generous and provide assistance to others have a lower blood pressure than those who do not, according to research. Supportive interaction with others also aids recovery after cardiac episodes.
Researchers also found that persons who volunteer their time to help others in the community have higher self-esteem, less despair, and lower stress levels than those who do not.
Does Generosity Help You Live Longer?
One study found that persons aged 55+ who volunteered for two or more groups were 44% less likely to die over a five-year period than those who didn’t — even after controlling for age, activity, general health, and harmful habits like smoking.
Another study indicated that older adults who helped friends, family, and neighbors or provided emotional support to their spouses also lived longer than those who did not.
Make You Feel Happier?
Giving can produce a “warm glow” in the brain, stimulating areas related to joy, connection, and trust. It is why you feel good driving home from a volunteer activity, or why giving a present to someone else makes you feel close to them.
There is evidence that “feel good” neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin are secreted in our brains during generous actions.
When scientists examined the functional MRIs of people who donated to various charities, they discovered that giving activates the mesolimbic pathway — the brain’s reward area. Basically, generosity produces endorphins and causes the “helper’s high.”