We do charity to contribute to someone’s happiness…
… and help improve some lives.
Some of us may have the bigger goal of changing the world.
Every little effort and every little contribution matters.
We can all work together to make this world a little better every day.
As they say, little drops of water make mighty oceans.
Now, charity should be a selfless act of giving. We agree.
However, even the most selfless forms of helping others come with some major advantages.
Did you know that giving or helping others have amazing health and physiological benefits?
We are not making it up.
It’s what science says!
We were so fascinated when we came across these research studies; we decided to share them with you, too.
Just some hard facts. No shenanigans.
Here are some of the research-backed benefits we came across:
People who give, live longer
Sounds like a ridiculous claim, doesn’t it?
But research proves it.
A study conducted by a researcher from the University of California in 1999 with volunteers above 55 years of age discovered this fact.
People who volunteered for two or more organizations had 44% chances of living longer. (The study took into account factors such as age, smoking habits, and exercise routines among other things).*
When we talk about long life here, we mean that people live longer with great health, not just survive longer. Their physical health allows them to stay stronger and not rely on anyone else till the end.
Weight and cholesterol levels get better!
While the above study talks about a longer life, here is one that reports the specific health benefits you get.
A more recent study – which was carried out in 2013 – showed similar, more concrete results. This time a sample of 100 high school students was taken. After their BMI and cholesterol levels were recorded, they were divided into volunteers and non-volunteers.
Two months later, volunteers showed reduced levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and lower, healthier BMI (Body Mass Index).
Just two months later!
Similar research studies by Rush University System for Health on elderly adults reported lowered risks of stroke, high blood pressure, and heart diseases.**
A generous heart is a healthy heart
Those with heart diseases may get the highest health benefits here.
Your selfless acts of giving and helping others strengthens your heart. Quite literally.
A research piece conducted by RUSH observes an improvement in the heart health of those who are involved in social support. It was a study carried out on individuals with heart diseases. It showed that those who spent up to 200 hours volunteering for organizations, – helping others – were less likely to have a heart attack…
And more likely to live for the next two years.***
Destress yourself by helping others
We know stress is a major reason behind a lot of health issues, right?
Once you learn to keep your stress down, you are pretty much on top of your health game.
Studies suggest that helping others is a great way to keep stress levels low.
It gives you satisfaction and induces peace of mind.
Researchers, Rachel Piferi of John Hopkins University and Kathleen Lawler of University of Tennessee, discovered the amazing fact that people who help others, volunteer, or provide social support in any way, exhibit lower blood pressure than those who didn’t.†
With a relaxed mind, you get to see the better of the world and your own health.
Strong defense against chronic illnesses
People with chronic illnesses know the value of health more than anyone else.
Most of them are no stranger to constant stress and pain, and the looming fears of what is to happen next.
And, an observation made by Stephen Post is definitely good news for all such people.
Stephen Post, a professor at Stony Brook University, is an expert at preventive medicine.
Having worked closely with individuals dealing with chronic diseases, including HIV and multiple sclerosis, he writes some amazing observations in his book, Why Good Things Happen To Good People.
He reports observing health improvements among those patients who actively participated in giving.‡
So, in accordance with the book’s title, good things do happen to good people. ^_^
While lending support to people, we are apparently helping them, enhancing their lives, and giving them a chance at happiness.
In reality, we are actually helping ourselves, too.
This is how nature works.
It encourages the act of giving and rewards us almost immediately.
All the acts of giving, helping, and supporting others strengthen our hearts, improve our mental health, help us deal with chronic conditions, and even assist us against weight issues.
Did you know these?
And do you have any other benefits to add?
Let us know in the comment section.