Do Good, Feel Good – How Helping Is Beneficial For Your Health | Megan’s ideas
What is it about “doing good” that is so beneficial to you both physically and emotionally? People who donate, volunteer or do charity often say they get more out of it than they give. Researchers are doing studies and getting results that support their claims.
Benefits for physical health
The Harvard School of Public Health is currently investigating further the connection between a person’s “sense of purpose” and their cardiovascular health. In a study of adults over the age of 50 who donated about four hours of their time each week, researchers found that they were 40% less likely than people who did not volunteer to develop hypertension over the next four years. This reduced their risk of heart disease, stroke, and premature death.
Heart disease and stroke, for which high blood pressure is a major risk factor, are one of the leading killers around the world. Rising healthcare costs are making people consider different healthcare solutions, like healthcare sharing programs, where they can share medical costs with other like-minded people and lower their costs. At US HealthShare, they can find out more about the different health sharing programs and what they have to offer.
Volunteering can create a sense of shared hope and help keep reality in perspective. People often cope better with pain and stress when they focus their attention on others in a healthy way. Stimulating the brain with an act of kindness releases endorphins and these are natural pain relievers.
Volunteering releases not only endorphins, but also oxytocin, known as the “love hormone,” serotonin, a mood stabilizer, and dopamine which controls the centers of pleasure and reward of the brain. There’s even a term for it known as the “help high”. When you do something good for someone else, the pleasure centers in your brain light up.
Emotionally, volunteering has been shown to help people feel more socially connected and prevent depression, loneliness, and other mental illnesses. A hundred hours of volunteering, or less than two hours per week, can positively improve your health. There is no specific volunteering task that you have to do and it can be any act of giving done for others and not for selfish reasons.
If you love animals, kids, or helping the homeless, there are many programs you can get involved with. Volunteer for a cause you are passionate about.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a full day to give – start small and find ways that match your other obligations, like family and work.
Look for opportunities near you. You can often do the most good by helping your neighbors or friends.
Give a little, earn a lot
Simple acts of compassion are a good place to start if you don’t feel right for formal volunteering. Try some of these suggestions and see how you feel. -Have tea with an elderly neighbor who doesn’t go out much. -Let an elderly person or pregnant woman precede you in a queue. – Carry out a spontaneous cleaning of the park. -Tutor a student who is preparing for exams. -Doing good will motivate you to do good again
Even thinking about the times you’ve helped others seemingly encourages you to want to start over. Reflecting on the good deeds of the past makes you feel better about yourself and makes you want to do more. You will want to keep doing good deeds over and over again. Remember, volunteering isn’t just good for others – it’s good for you too!