The spirit of giving involves thinking about other people’s needs, but did you know that helping is also good for your own health and happiness?

According to a study at University of California, Berkeley(1999), people 55 and older who volunteered for two or more organizations were 44 percent less likely to die over a five-year period than those who didn’t volunteer even after you account for other factors like age, health status, and health behaviors (like exercise or smoking).

Why is giving good for you?

You may want to explain this as good karma: the more you give, the more you get back. You might be correct giving often strengthens social connections but a study at the University of Michigan (2003) found that while giving support was linked to a lower risk of death, receiving help was not.

Meanwhile, studies at Harvard Business School (2008), University of California Riverside, and the National Institute of Health have shown that acts of giving make us happier.

Giving brings joy.

This is pretty simple, intuitive stuff. Think about the last time you gave a gift or performed an act of service: imagine the look on your loved one’s face as they unwrapped your present. Now, recall the gratitude of someone you’ve helped.

Doesn’t it feel good to contribute to something bigger than yourself?

Hold onto that feeling. Chase it. Spread the joy. The research suggests that your body will thank you.

Now take a moment:

Tomorrow’s Giving Tuesday. Take a moment to see what the organizations you care about are doing, and see how you can chip in.

Oh, and if you know someone who would benefit from working with a Health Advisor, tell them to sign up for one of our grant-funded programs here.

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