4 Health Benefits of Giving to Others
'Tis the season of giving. Giving to those less fortunate than yourself can have long-lasting physical and psychological benefits.
Charity can boost both mental and physical health. Research shows that those who volunteer live longer and have happier lives. Charitable giving delivers a host of benefits to the body and brain. So whether you give your time or money, you can experience:
- Lower blood pressure.
- Lower stress levels.
- Less anxiety and depression.
- Increased self-esteem.
Four reasons to begin a tradition of giving:
- Giving makes you feel happy. Your brain's pleasure circuits are stimulated by acts of charity and release "good feeling" chemicals such as endorphins, which give you a sense of euphoria, and oxytocin, which promotes tranquility and inner peace.
- Giving is good for your health. Stress is the catalyst for many known health issues. Giving has been proven to decrease blood pressure and reduce stress. This reduction promotes longer life and better health.
- Giving promotes social connection. Studies show that when you give to others, your generosity is often continued down the line to someone else, or returned to you. This strengthens our ties to each other.
- Giving is contagious. When one person gives, it inspires others to do the same.
About the Author
Kitty Stafford, RN, BSN, MHA, BC is the Nursing Director, Adult Services at Behavioral Health Services