Most people will donate to charity out of the sheer goodness of their heart, aiming to make a difference in their organization of choice.
Few actually realize that while these charitable donations can make the world of difference to the recipients, they can also benefit your own health in more ways than you can imagine.
That’s right; science has proven that giving to charity can boost your general health. We were first alerted to this through a post on the website of John Binkley Dallas, which emphasized how giving is essential to life.
Following on from the above, let’s take a look at some of the ways in which giving to charity can benefit your health.
You’ll Live Longer
It might sound ridiculous, but real studies have been conducted which show that those people who give to charity will actually live longer.
In 1999, at the University of California, it was found that people over 55-years-old and volunteered for at least two organizations were 44% less likely to die in the next five years, as opposed to those who didn’t volunteer.
This hasn’t been the only study which has been conducted – several years later in 2003 the University of Michigan found similar.
Giving can make you live longer – it’s proven.
You’ll Also Live a Happier Life
As well as living longer, the science out there suggests that your life will be happier and more fulfilled as well.
Believe it or not, every time you give money you are activating a part of your brain that deals with pleasure. While you might not feel it initially, it will most definitely be there in you subconscious.
This was proven in a 2006 study. The National Institutes of Health studied the brain in people who regularly gave to charities. They found that the “reward” region of the brain (the mesolimbic pathway) was significantly active.
As crazy as it may sound, like anything which stimulates this area of the brain, it can become addictive.
You Can Keep Your Stress Levels Down to a Minimum
This next study actually revolves around the reverse. In other words, a scientist looked at those people who weren’t as forward in giving, and found that they suffered from higher levels of cortisol.
This is the stress hormone and ultimately, the more that’s in your body the worse you are going to feel. Having found these results, the psychologist in question proceeded to study those people who gave to charity and found that they had much lower levels of the hormone.
It Will Keep Your Mental Health In-Check
Bearing all of the above points in mind, it probably won’t come as a surprise to hear that studies have found that giving improves your mental health as a whole. Forty separate studies have concluded this, with the results available in a BMC journal.
As well as giving tangible gifts, the review found that volunteering had very similar effects to what has been concentrated on above as well.