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Have you ever felt a rush after doing a good deed? If the answer is “yes” there’s a good reason why – it’s called science.
Sure, it feels good to give. But, giving your time, money, or energy to help others doesn’t just make the world a better place, it also boosts happiness, health and a sense of wellbeing.
Turns out that wisdom and modern science seem to agree: Being part of something bigger might be one of the best things we can do, both for others and ourselves. Yep, research has shown that the old adage, “it’s better to give than to receive” is true after all.
Countless studies show that kinder people live longer, healthier lives. The “helpers high” experienced by givers trigger the pleasure, trust, and social connection regions of our brain. The release of warm, fuzzy endorphins when doing a good deed has a similar effect to exercise on the body. Now that’s a high worth pursuing, don’t you think?
The health benefits associated with giving include:
- Lower blood pressure
- Increased self-esteem
- Less depression
- Lower stress levels
- Longer life and
- Greater happiness, joy, gratitude and compassion
Impressive, right? But – and here’s the kicker – before you rush out to donate or volunteer in the hope of boosting your happiness, health and lifespan, you’ll need to stop and think about your motivation. The paradox – that we happen to think is rather poetic – is that givers may only get these benefits when they’re not seeking them. A study found that giving for self-related reasons did not bring benefits: only when giving was altruistic and driven from compassion, were individuals likely to live longer.
During July, we as South Africans honour Madiba’s life by taking action to make the world a better place. According to Aristotle: “A life of happiness is a life of meaning.” And, quoting Madiba himself “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived, it is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
We all lead busy lives and volunteering doesn’t have to take over your life to be beneficial. Positive change begins with small actions. But, each person has the power to change the world; to inspire the next generation. So, start small and do what you can. Lend a hand to a friend or neighbour, or volunteer at an animal shelter. Donate a warm blanket to a homeless person, or books to a school. Help out at your local hospice, or tutor kids in a school subject that you’re good at.
Giving back must be a selfless notion but ordinary people can reap extraordinary rewards, so let’s make every day Mandela Day!
Thank you to all the angels of this country who dedicate their lives to giving to others who have so little.
Source: www.brandsouthafrica.com, www.parliament.gov.za, www.scripps.org, www.babble.com, www.mandeladay.com, www.goc.za, www.dilawrifoundation.ca, www.katecashman.com, mentalfloss.com, pursuit.unimelb.edu.au, www.psychologytoday.com, www.forbes.com, www.helpguide.org, health.clevelandclinic.org,
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.