Can helping others improve your health?
Yes, according to scientific studies. Not only does it "feel good" to be kind to others, but it can have both physical and mental benefits, including:
•Creating a rush of euphoria, known as a "helper's high," that releases the body's natural painkillers, the endorphins. This initial rush is then followed by a longer-lasting period of improved emotional well-being.
• Improving stress-related health problems, including overeating, ulcers, and more. A drop in stress may, for some people, decrease the constriction within the lungs that leads to asthma attacks.
• Enhancing feelings of joyfulness, emotional resilience and vigor.
• Supplying social contact and reducing the unhealthy sense of isolation.
• Decreasing both the intensity and the awareness of physical pain.
• Reducing bad attitudes, such as chronic hostility, that negatively arouse and damage the body.
• Recreating a sense of well-being and the resulting health benefits for hours or even days whenever the helping act is remembered.
• Increasing the sense of self-worth, happiness and optimism, as well as decreasing feelings of helplessness and depression.
• Creating emotions like a sense of personal bonding from kind acts that can strengthen the immune system.
Source: "The Healing Power of Doing Good: The Health and Spiritual Benefits of Helping Others," by Allan Luks and Peggy Pane.
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