How Philanthropy Can Improve Your Health

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Philanthropy is all about giving to others. Volunteering allows us to help those in need. But did you know that being charitable can also have positive health benefits for you, too? According to the Advocate, it can “yield dramatic physical results for the giver.”

Giving willingly is perhaps one of the most satisfying experiences in the world, and a Cornell University study has determined that it’s also good for your mental health. Those who volunteer tend to experience reduced stress and display less anxiety—for long periods of time.

It seems that giving not only provides people with a sense of purpose, but it also increases the amount of dopamine and serotonin in our brains—leading to increased happiness. Volunteers and active philanthropists have a lower occurrence of depression, too. It seems that when we focus on others’ problems and try to help them, we sometimes forget about our own issues.

Helping young children, say, can also help with agility for people such as senior citizens. Studies have shown that seniors working with children showed improvements in walking and stair-climbing speed. They also spent less time watching TV. Whether it was a matter of necessity (little kids move fast!) or inspiration (perhaps they felt young again), the results were nothing but positive.

Some philanthropic activities involve exercise, such as cancer walks and marathons. To participate, you might need to train or prepare. Plus, exercise releases endorphins, which are a mood elevator. If you’re participating in a social event, you might also meet new friends—which is proven to reduce stress and extend life expectancy.

What more reason could you need to get involved? By volunteering to help out, you’ll be improving others’ lives as well as your own. Find a passion. Find a cause. Make it happen.