We all agree that helping others is beneficial, whether it takes the form of charitable contributions, volunteering for causes, or providing emotional support to those around us. But did you know that the positive feelings you experience when you assist others are also beneficial to you?
Giving has been shown to improve both your physical and mental well-being, according to studies. (This is welcome news in a world where a lot of people are dealing with the psychological effects of a pandemic.)
Health advantages of contributing might range from helping out at a soup kitchen to pledging to raise money for a particular cause.
- decrease in blood pressure
- and a higher sense of self.
- Reduced depression
- lower levels of stress
- more time.
- more contentment and pleasure.
According to psychologist Scott Bea, PsyD, “I vividly remember giving my daughter a dollar to buy a gift for us during the holidays in elementary school.” She was eager to give us the present she had chosen when she got home. She also urged we do so right away.
Although it may seem as though the joy of giving gifts has a special power to uplift us, there is evidence to support this.
According to research, persons with lower blood pressure than those without it are those who provide social support to others. Social support from others aids in the recovery process after cardiac episodes.
Additionally, according to researchers, those who volunteer their time through involvement in organizations and their communities tend to have lower levels of stress, less sadness, and lower levels of self-esteem than those who don’t.
Giving can lengthen your life
Even after controlling for numerous other variables including age, exercise, general health, and bad habits like smoking, one study found that adults 55 and older who volunteered for two or more groups had a 44 percent lower five-year mortality rate than those who didn’t.
In a different study, the proportions of older persons who helped friends, family, and neighbors or supported their spouses emotionally were comparable to those who did not.
Enjoying life more
Giving can biologically produce a “warm glow,” turning on brain areas related to joy, human connection, and trust. This explains why you feel pleased while driving home after a volunteer activity or why you feel ecstatic when you’re ready to offer someone a present (and feel close to them while doing so).
There is evidence that when people give gifts, their brains release “feel good” hormones including oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. Serotonin is a mood-regulating molecule (a compassion and bonding chemical).
Scientists have discovered that contributing stimulates the mesolimbic pathway, the reward region in the brain, releasing endorphins and producing what is known as the “helper’s high” when you look at the functional MRIs of participants who gave to various charities.
Additionally, this high is addicting, just like other highs. So go ahead and help someone who needs it, choose the charity you want to support, and look for ways to volunteer in your neighborhood. Both your physical and mental health—as well as the people you assist—will appreciate you.