When things go wrong in our lives, we usually find some way to make ourselves feel better. Some people will read a book, some might go to the gym, and some people might go lend a helping hand to someone in need. If you’re somebody who likes to do the last example when feeling down, you probably understand how helping others has the unique ability to raise your spirits when you’re down in the dumps. It turns out that the benefits of giving to others can affect more than just your happiness, but your overall wellbeing as well. Here are some of the health benefits that can come with practicing philanthropy.
Life can be stressful, and it’s not always easy to rid oneself of that stress. If not handled properly, stress can lead to issues such as high blood pressure or insomnia. A great way to offset the stress is giving to those in need. Giving to others is a great stress-reliever, with many studies showing that consistent charitable giving can lead to a reduction in mortality, whether it be in someone old or someone young. While the reasons aren’t entirely clear to researchers, studies have shown that many adults 50 years or older who volunteer at least 4 hours a week are less likely than non-volunteers to develop hypertension. Many researchers believe this change might have something to do with the stress-reducing effects of altruism.
Greater Overall Happiness
When you do a good deed such as donating to a charity or volunteering at a shelter, your brain produces a chemical known as dopamine, which as the ability to elevate your mood and give you what researchers have called a helper’s high. The feelings people get from giving to a good cause are similar to feelings of joy or happiness that people get when they eat or give someone a hug. By continuing to take part in acts of charity, it’s possible to achieve an overall better sense of happiness and purpose in one’s life.
Trying to make the world a better place is not an easy task. Volunteering or giving back to those less fortunate is not only good for those in need, but it’s good for the person doing the deed as well. If you’re not feeling yourself, try helping someone less fortunate for you. You’ll likely start to feel like a happier, healthier version of yourself in no time.