10 Ways Giving to Others Benefits You
“No one has ever become poor by giving.”― Anne Frank
Did you know that giving to others can benefit them as well as you? Would you be more generous if you knew that it led to things like increased self-esteem or even physical benefits like a strengthened immune system?
According to mentalhealth.org.uk, people who are compassionate and kind see clear benefits to their own well-being and may even live longer lives. You can begin to give more in so many ways!
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Try volunteering for a cause you support or donating food or money. If you have a particular knowledge that’s valuable to others you can give by teaching. Start with something small like opening a door or buying a coffee. Here are ten ways that giving to others can benefit you.
Helping or giving to others is a great way to find a sense of purpose or accomplishment. Success and achieving goals lead to higher self-esteem. Feeling appreciated may raise your opinion of yourself and help you feel more worthy or love and respect. When you give more and feel better you can create a cycle of helping others and making your life better at the same time.
Lower Blood Pressure
Spending money on others was found to result in a lower blood pressure versus spending money on oneself, according to a study from the Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley.
They gave seventy-three participants $40 on three separate days during a six-week study. Half of the study participants were instructed to spend the money on themselves, while the other fifty percent were asked to spend the money on others.
The subjects who spent the money on others had notably lower blood pressure at the end of the study. The notable difference was as much as could be changed by eating healthier or exercising more. Wow, that’s impressive.
Giving to others increases positive feelings when the brain releases endorphins and dopamine. By focusing on the needs of others you can remove yourself from your own problems. Get out of your head and into the real world where you’ll see the problems that other people are facing.
It’ll make you feel less alone and maybe even a bit of gratitude for the circumstances you find yourself in. Seeing things from another perspective can lessen depression and expand your world view.
Lower Stress Levels
A meaningful connection with another person is one of the best ways to relieve stress according to helpguide.org. Giving allows you to form connections with the person or people you help and the community that you associate with to facilitate giving or volunteering. There’s no requirement to give more than you can afford or have time for. Recognize and feel good about what you’re able to contribute and stress relief will come naturally as dopamine is released into your body.
Strengthen Immune System
One Ohio State study titled, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, researched the link between social support-giving and inflammation in the body. While adjusting for all other factors, the results showed that self-reporting as more supportive and giving to others was aligned with lower markers that signified inflammation, especially in women.
Inflammatory responses in the body can be responsible for all sorts of health issues including lower immune function. Helping others can reduce inflammation and in turn begin to strengthen the immune system.
Gratitude and Perspective
Getting out of your comfort zone and giving to others who are less fortunate can change your perspective on your own life. You may meet people who aren’t so different from you but were handed more difficult circumstances in life. It’s easy to lose sight of what we’re grateful for when surrounded by social media and curated versions of perfect lives. When you step in to help others you might realize that you have plenty to be grateful for.
A Sense of Community
Volunteering can create new friendships and bonds between you and people with similar values and interests. It can help you feel like part of a community that’s making a difference. Benefits of a larger social circle are many.
One Act of Kindness can Lead to More
If you’ve ever been the recipient of a random act of kindness you may have felt the urge to pay it forward. When one person chooses to be kind it can inspire further acts of kindness. You never know when someone really needs some brightness in their day or a reminder that people can be good. You could make a major difference in someone’s life without even realizing it. Those who give tend to attract goodness as well.
In a Syracuse University study, Arthur Brooks found that giving people were 42% more likely than others to say they were very happy. This phenomenon is so widespread that psychologists refer to the happiness that giving brings as a “helper’s high,” which is similar to the feeling of a “runner’s high” that people can experience after an intense workout.
The body releases endorphins which reduce pain and increase euphoria causing a period of great happiness followed by calm and satisfaction.
According to one study at clevelandclinic.org, after accounting for external factors, people fifty-five and older who volunteered for two or more organizations were 44% less likely to die over a five-year period than those who didn’t volunteer.
Similar numbers were found in several studies of aging and elderly people who helped others and emotionally supported their spouses versus those who did not. It was also found, in the aforementioned Syracuse University study, that givers were 25% more likely to report being in excellent health than others. It’s well documented that a sense of community is one of the main ingredients to a long and healthy life.
Overall, if you want to live a happier, healthier, longer life, it might be time to stop taking and start giving. Use these reasons to motivate you to take action today. Give a gift to someone you care about just because. Pay for the person behind you in the drive-through.
Volunteer with a cause that matters to you or start donating. Take the time to teach someone a skill instead of just doing it for them. You’ll feel better and with any luck one kindness will start a cycle of giving. Positivity always comes back to you.
CONTRIBUTED BY George J. Ziogas