Is Generosity the Ultimate Health Hack?
(Spoiler Alert: Yup.)
Exercise regularly. Eat healthy foods. Drink lots of water. Get enough sleep. These health hacks are time-tested and widely-accepted tips on how to stay vibrant. But science says there may be another shortcut to health that we’re not talking about: kindness and generosity. Sound crazy? Don’t take our word for it. Read on.
Acts of kindness and generosity can actually affect things like your immune system, blood pressure, and physical pain. According to MentalHealth.org, “Emotions which are related to helping people such as compassion may help stabilize the immune system against the immuno-suppressing effects of stress.” Turns out, generous acts can help fight off colds and viruses that usually accompany a stressful week!
In addition, PsychologyToday states that, “Volunteers…often have better physical health than non-volunteers.” AND, according to Michael Hyatt, bestselling author and coach, “Generosity actually reduce[s] blood pressure as much as medicine and exercise. [It also] improves chronic pain management, and more.” While it may not seem like you have time to help others, the truth may be that you don’t have time NOT to.
Would you make giving back a priority if you knew it would add years to your life? According to MentalHealth.org, “Studies on older people show that those who give support to others live longer than those who don’t.” Berkeley Wellness also describes a study in which, “Researchers found that experiencing stressful events significantly predicted increased mortality over the next five years among people who didn’t provide help to others. It did not do so in helpful people.” If that’s not a good reason to prioritize generous acts, we don’t know what is.
Good for the Brain:
According to MentalHealth.org, “Giving to and helping other people releases endorphins which then activate parts of our brain that are associated with trust, pleasure and social connection.” Giving also tends to decrease stress, which in turn helps the body, which in turns helps you live longer—and the whole cycle repeats.
Looking for a quick way to boost health AND happiness? Here are some ideas:
Find a local charity you’re passionate about and volunteer.
Give away something of yours that you know will make someone else happy.
Donate to your favorite organization. Even $5 is enough.
Compliment the grumpiest person in the office.
Mentor someone less experienced.
Send a cute puppy video to someone who’s hurting.
We’re pretty sure the boost of endorphins alone will make it all worth it.
Let us know how it works in the comments below!
Written by: Samantha Colicchio, Liquid I.V. Brand Storyteller