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7 ways giving back can benefit your health and happiness

 “Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” Jackson Brown Jr.

 

Does giving have personal health benefits? Scientific studies say yes. Research has shown time and time again that being generous has a multitude of positive effects on the body and mind. Take a look at the 7 ways giving back can be rewarding not only for the community and the causes you care about, but for you.

 

man jumping for joy

Image by @twenty20

 

1. Helpers high

 

That warm fuzzy feeling you get when ‘giving’ is backed by biology. A 2016 study found that acts of kindness can dramatically boost your mood, while other researchers have found that giving to charities activates parts of the brain linked to pleasure, trust and positive connections with others. Feel-good brain chemicals and endorphins like dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin are said to be released when donating, creating a natural happy high. Pretty amazing, right?

 

 

2. Boosts overall life satisfaction

 

A variety of studies have found that the more people give, the happier they are. A report by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute suggests that the “joy of giving” to charities increases happiness in both men and women. Another study following a 20 year period, published in Oxford Journal The Gerontologist, found that volunteering has been linked to fewer depressive symptoms and even suggest lower rates of depression in volunteers.

 heart

Image by @twenty20

 

3. Lower blood pressure

 

It’s well known that high blood pressure and high-stress levels are taxing for health, but studies suggest that we can help lower them through giving. A study by the International Journal of Psychophysiology found lower blood pressure readings in those who “gave social support to others”, while professor of preventive medicine at Stony Brook University, Stephen G. Post, states that generosity can lower stress levels.

 

 

4. Live longer

 

Some studies have even suggested that giving back can lead to a longer (and happier) life. One study by the University of British Columbia found that teenagers who volunteer have the “greatest decreases in cardiovascular risk over time”. A University of California, Berkeley study also found over a five year period that people over the age of 55 and volunteering for two or more organisations were 44% less likely to die than those who don’t volunteer.

 

5. Boosts self-esteem

 

Need a self-esteem boost? One scientific study has also found that generosity and helping causes you care about has significant positive impacts on self-esteem.

 

 happy family

Image by @twenty20

 

6. Better quality of life

 

Older adults also seem to benefit strongly from giving back. One study by the Journal of Urban Health suggests it can help maintain strength and mobility, while another study found that volunteering and giving back leads to fewer cognitive problems later in life, and lowers risks of dementia. Volunteering and giving back is also linked to a higher quality of life according to researchers Mima Cattan, Eddy Hogg and Irene Hardill. 

 

7. Gives life purpose  

 

Both age-old pearls of wisdom, religions, and modern scientific research seem to agree that good deeds and giving back to a cause you care about gives life purpose and improves our wellbeing. So while helping the community has many benefits, the benefits also extend to you.  What causes do you care about?

 

charityBay 

Want to give back? Download the charityBay app today and start turning unwanted household items into money for the charities closest to your heart.

 

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