What Science Says About the Health Benefits of Charity
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People are often encouraged to donate their time or some of their resources because these things help uplift others. It’s a way to show emotional support to those who may need it. Studies now show that doing this is not only beneficial to the recipient – the giver is also said to gain health benefits from it. Here are some of the ways doing charity work helps you:
Protects Against Depression and Anxiety
Charity increases serotonin levels in the brain. This hormone is said to help prevent anxiety. Some studies have shown that volunteering can help reduce the hormone cortisol, chemicals which are said to increase feelings of anxiety. Some studies point out that charity helps due to increased feelings of sense of accomplishment when engaged in these.
Lowers Blood Pressure
A study featured in the International Journal of Psychophysiology states that giving time or energy to others can help lower blood pressure. Professors from John Hopkins University measured the blood pressure of those who were active in giving social support compared to those who did not and found that the former group had lower blood pressure levels. They also noted that these people were less likely to feel depressed and reportedly have better self-esteem.
You Feel Happier
Giving can activate the regions in your brain that are often associated with pleasure, trust, and connection. Some experts like to call it the “helper’s high.” They also say that because you feel good when you do charity work, you are more inclined to engage in it more often once you’ve started it.
Makes People Live Longer
The University of California in Berkeley studied the relationship of charity with longevity and here’s what they found out – people of ages 55 and up who volunteered to organizations reduced their chances of dying by 44% over a period of 5 years compared to those who don’t. Similar results were shown by a study conducted by the University of Michigan, but this time, the elders volunteered or gave emotional support to relatives, friends, or neighbors.