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Giving Back Makes you Healthier and Happier

by Beth on August 25th, 2010

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.    – Winston Churchill

I’ve talked before about how practicing acts of kindness increases your positivity.  Well it turns out that helping others not only makes you happier, but it also makes you healthier.  Drs. Oz and Rozien discuss the health benefits of giving back in a recent article in Success magazine.

They explain that when people give to others, whether it be money, time, or some other act of kindness, they experience a rush of endorphins similar to a runner’s high.  Even just thinking about helping people can boost positive emotion, strengthen your immune system, reduce stress, and decrease pain.  In one study 20 percent of the people lost weight after they started volunteering.  I know, they probably didn’t have time to eat!  But seriously, studies of longevity show that people who help others have a 60 percent lower mortality rate.

So maybe more people should consider accepting the challenge by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet to give half of their personal net worth to charity.  The fact is, among people with the same amount of money those who donate are happier than those who don’t.  And they will also probably live longer.

But you don’t have to give money to help others.  According to a survey done by United Healthcare and Volunteer Match people who volunteer report feeling physically healthier and having lower stress levels, in addition to the fact that volunteering provides them with networking opportunities and a sense of purpose in life.

Be creative.  What are your talents?  How can you use your strengths to help others?  Are you good with children?  Do you have financial knowledge from which others might benefit?  Could you give resume-writing advice to people looking for work?  What about going to a residence home to teach older people how to use the internet?  Or maybe you could help with the choreography for the youth choir performance at your church?

Give your positivity a double boost by using your strengths to help others and enjoy the health benefits you will gain as well.

From → Generosity

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