4 ways giving back is good for your health

hugging_smYou’ve heard it time and time again: It’s better to give than to receive. And, every once in a while, you consider upping your charitable giving just a smidge. You’ve thought about being more involved in your community and volunteering your time and finances. For some reason, though, time seems to be fleeting and those dollar signs tend to diminish quickly from your bank account.

We know that giving is good for helping to boost your self-esteem, but did you know that volunteering could also help improve your health? It’s true. Check out how giving to others can improve your own life:

Increase your immunity. Recent studies show that giving back can help bolster your immunity. A study by Stephen Post, Ph.D., found that those that thought about a time when they felt loved or were caring for others had an increase in protective antibodies in their saliva. The study also showed that activity in the brain’s pleasure center increased when participants contemplated donating to organizations. An increased immune system can help you ward off illnesses and maintain a healthier, more active lifestyle.

Decrease your risk of heart attack. Did you know that human interaction can help decrease your odds of experiencing a heart attack? You can help reduce your chances of heart attack by simply taking the time to listen to other people, studies show. This study claims that there is a connection between self-promotion and heart attacks. So take some time to focus on others instead of yourself.

Reduce colds. There’s also a connection between volunteering and catching colds. A study done at Carnegie Mellon University claims that those more involved in social situations are less likely to become sick from a common cold.

Lower your cortisol levels. If you’re looking to shed some pounds, you should really consider giving back. Not only do certain forms of volunteering help you stay active, but studies show that physical touch can help lower your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that may cause weight gain, so decreasing your cortisol levels may help you lose some weight.

There are many benefits to volunteering your time and finances to help those in need. In reality, though, giving back to those around you is the right thing to do. So look for ways that you can be a blessing to your family, friends or strangers. A little kindness goes a long way.

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