volunteers at a food bank

Why Giving Back is Good for You

There are many ways to give your time and talent to your community, but did you know that giving can do a lot of good for your health, too? Here is just a sample of what you get when you give back.

Be happier

Some argue that giving is a selfish act because sharing with others is such a joy. And there’s a scientific reason for that feeling of joy. The act of giving actually brings up what some people call the “helper’s high.”

When you give to others, it activates your mesolimbic system, also known as your brain’s reward center. The system is responsible for releasing endorphins, making you feel all warm and fuzzy.

That means lower stress and increased self-esteem, all from just helping someone out!

Get in shape

While it might not be obvious at first, giving back is a great way to shape up. Think about the last time you volunteered at a local soup kitchen or even just helped a neighbor shovel snow. You probably worked up quite a sweat while you were lending a helping hand.

Getting involved gets you moving, and that’s a great thing for your body. You can lose belly fat by helping pick up trash around your neighborhood, and work your muscles by moving supplies for your favorite non-profit. All that activity spells better cholesterol levels, lower blood sugar and blood pressure, and a healthier heart overall.

Live longer

With all of the mental and physical benefits, it should come as no surprise that people who give live longer, happier lives. People who volunteer are more active, and those health perks go a long way. Reduced risk of heart disease including cardiac arrest and reduced risk of stroke are just two of the major impacts giving can have on your lifespan.

A study from the University of California, Berkeley, shows the surprising results of giving. The study involved men and women over the age of 55, some of whom were involved in charity work and others who were not. The people who were involved in charity were shown to be 44% less likely to die over the 5-year study period than those who didn’t volunteer.

 

Whether you give back in small or large ways, getting involved can make a lasting difference in the lives of yourself and others. Visit our Community Benefit page and find your region to learn more about outreach in your neighborhood.