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Health & Wellness : Dec 2011 – Giving is the Best Way to Receive

Health & Wellness : Dec 2011 – Giving is the Best Way to Receive

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”     ~Kahlil Gibran

Have you ever wondered why it feels good to give and help others out or if there are actual measurable benefits for the giver as well as the receiver?   Do we lose true altruism if all parties benefit?  Want to feel better? Live longer? Dodge a bad mood? Lift yourself up?  It’s easy. Go help someone else!

“Helper’s high” has been well documented in numerous studies. For those into evidence-based medicine, check a few abstracts.  [1]

To get the strongest effects, the altruistic acts should involve direct contact and be voluntary, come from the heart.

It’s really pretty simple, says Stephen G. Post, director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics at Stony Brook University: “To rid yourself of negative emotional states,” he said, “you need to push them aside with positive emotional states and the simplest way to do that is to just go out and lend a helping hand to somebody.” Although not necessarily a cure, giving simply is a coping mechanism and a simple tool you can use that can help you change your thinking about each life experience [2]

Benefits to Giver

Altruism, volunteering, giving back or reaching out to help, eases the stress in the body, which results in these beneficial health factors:

– Strengthening the immune-system.

– A decrease in both the intensity and the awareness of physical pain.

– Activation of the emotions that are vital to the maintaining good health.

-Reduction of the incidence of attitudes, such as chronic hostility, that negatively arouse and damage the body.

– Experiencing a “helper’s high,” a rush of euphoria, followed by a longer period of calm, after performing a kind act.

– This initial rush from the “Helper’s High” is followed by a longer-lasting period of improved emotional well-being.

– Release of the body’s natural painkillers, the endorphins as part of the “Helper’s High.” [3]

This year when you consider giving, remember that you also provide benefits toward reaching your health & wellness goals.  Let “giving” begin and hearts expand!


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