Did you know that giving back is actually good for you?

The science of altruism states that charitable acts provide mutual benefits for the donor and the recipient.

article material

At first glance, the phrase “it is better to give than to receive” reads like a slogan created to sell goods. However, there is some real science to support the sentiment and to prove that giving can actually be healthy for the donor.

advertisement

article material

Paul S. Walia, certified mental health counselor and school psychologist, explains how the pleasurable feeling we get from giving to others turns into altruism.

“Altruism is the selfless concern for the well-being of others,” says Walia. “Altruism not only enhances the lives of others, but it also enhances the well-being of the giver. Recent studies have shown that engaging in altruistic activities leads to greater life satisfaction and decreased stress.”

One such study has been published in the journal sleep science practice 2017 found that older participants, when answered positively to a survey for the idea of ​​giving up, were 63 percent less likely to experience sleep apnea, 52 percent less likely to suffer from restless legs syndrome, and less likely to sleep. The overall performance was of better quality.

advertisement

article material

Senior author Jason Ong said in a news release at the time, “Helping people cultivate a purpose in life can be an effective drug-free strategy to improve sleep quality, especially with more insomnia.” for the facing population.”

The process gives new meaning to the old adage, “whatever helps you sleep at night.” However, the benefits of altruistic behavior extend far beyond the rest. Health benefits from those who prioritize charitable work can include lower blood pressure, less depression, longer life and greater overall happiness in all aspects of life.

Happiness itself should not be overlooked when ranking the important consequences of giving. In many ways, a positive attitude determines what direction a person takes and the paths they choose to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

advertisement

article material

Giving_Tuesday_Altruism_2
Researchers suggest that simply by watching another person perform an act of charity, a person is more likely to give to those in need. Getty Images

“When we are able to make a positive contribution to others and society, we see our lives and work as meaningful and relevant,” adds Walia. “By fostering positive change in the lives of those around us, we see ourselves as capable and powerful enough to make a positive contribution to the lives of others.”

A Harvard University study has also made the same conclusion. As the researchers examined the moods and lifestyles of giving people, they determined that “the current evidence suggests that happy people actually help more in a variety of contexts.”

He then added, “Our own recent research suggests that altruistic financial behaviors, such as gift giving and charitable donations, can promote happiness.”

Maria Romer Guzzetta LCSW-R, BCD is the clinical director for Lock & Key Therapy in New York. As she sees it, the benefits of giving aren’t the only abstract numbers proven in research. In many ways, this is evident in a real-world setting for reasons of common sense.

advertisement

article material

“You can’t be happy and sad at the same time, so you are choosing to be happy. There is no room for sadness,” Guzzetta says. “Giving and smiling are also contagious.”

Ironically, there are studies proving it, too. In 2014, researchers from the Center for Markets and Public Organizations in Bristol found that watching another person do charity work made a person more likely to give to those in need. In fact, getting encouragement to be a philanthropist from someone close to you can make you more than quadruple your chances of donating to a charitable cause yourself.

You can’t reduce the social aspect in any of this. Experiments conducted and published in Journal of Risk and Uncertainty reported that those who wanted to give were more likely to do so when the recipient was a single identifiable beneficiary, as opposed to a statistical or distant cause.

In the end, giving may benefit the giver and the beneficiary, but the effect it has on all of us may be the most important consequence of all, as Walia points out.

“By fostering a sense of selflessness and empathy, altruism creates a powerful social dynamic among people, rooted in acceptance and charity, that benefits society as a whole.”

The story was created by Content Works, the commercial content division of Postmedia.

advertisement

Leave a Reply