Being helpful is always the right move, whether that means investing your time, money or energy. While it may be more challenging to help right now, it’s really more important than ever.
But not only does being helpful make the world a little bit better, it actually can make you physically better. Here are some of the scientific benefits of helping:
Live Longer: Multiple studies show people who volunteer get sick less often and live longer. They show an improved ability to manage stress and reduced rates of depression – especially when the volunteering happens on a regular basis. This might be because volunteering can enhance your social life – a factor that can affect your long-term health.
Be Happier: One five-year study found Americans who described themselves as “very happy” volunteered at least 5.8 hours per month. Volunteering increases physical activity and makes us more socially active, and researchers think giving back gives individuals a neurochemical sense of reward.
Impacts Your Health: Helping others may help with chronic pain and lower blood pressure. In one study, people with chronic pain tried working as peer volunteers and experienced a reduction in their symptoms. In another, older individuals who volunteered regularly decreased their risk of hypertension by 40%!
Helping is Contagious: Doing good has a ripple effect. People are more likely to perform altruistic actions after seeing others do the same, meaning one good act could lead to dozens and dozens of good acts.
Sense of Purpose: Finally, helping others gives us a sense of purpose. Purpose, a master plan for life, sets context, helps guide life decisions, and creates meaning. It’s not something picked for us – we have to define our purpose ourselves. Studies show that volunteering enhances an individual’s overall sense of purpose and identity—particularly if they no longer hold a life-defining role like “worker” or “parent.”
We talk and think a lot about purpose at The Joseph Group – our mission is to help and encourage clients and friends to find purpose and live great lives. Think about your purpose, and ask yourself who you can help or what you can do to help, and reap these physical benefits!
Source: 7 Scientific Benefits of Helping Others, mentalfloss.com