Researchers have come to the conclusion that giving to others can have tremendous health benefits. According to The Daily Mail, an American study conducted at UCLA and at the University of North Carolina suggests that helping others is not only beneficial to your soul, but also to your overall health:
According to the findings, UCLA research found that “people who derive their happiness from helping others have strong antibody genes, while people who get their kicks from self-gratification can suffer from low antiviral and antibody gene expression.
People who are do-gooders have high levels of ‘eudemonic well-being’. They derive happiness from a deep sense of purpose and meaning in life, and showed favorable gene-expression profiles in their immune cells.
Those studied from this happiness group had low levels of inflammatory gene expression and strong antibody and antiviral genes.
However, individuals who have high levels of ‘hedonic well-being’ – the type of happiness that comes from consuming goods and self-gratification – showed the opposite.”
Other research endeavors support this claim. In a study conducted by the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education and Department of Psychology, over one hundred tenth grade students were divided into two groups—one that rendered an hour of volunteer work for ten weeks and another that was wait-listed for such activities. The students who volunteered had lower levels of cholesterol and inflammation in their bodies, as well as lower body mass indexes.
Being stressed out, particularly for extended durations, can be taxing on one’s immune system. For instance, the body releases cortisol during stressful situations, which can simulate a fight or flight mode that leads to increased breathing and heart rates. Doctors believe that when you do good deeds, your body’s reaction to stress can be minimized.
There are many ways to reduce stress and reap the health benefits. From babysitting for a friend to volunteering in your city, there are hundreds of ways to give back to your community—and to yourself. A quick Internet search can direct you to support a noble cause by donating your time or money to nonprofit fundraisers in your city.
Supporting a nonprofit fundraiser program doesn’t have to take much time from your day or money from your wallet. When charity-oriented online platforms like eBay Giving Works exist, a few clicks from your mouse can lend a hand to your chosen charitable organization. With all-around benefits that you can share with others and also enjoy for yourself, doing good is now more worthwhile than ever.
(From: Be happy – your genes will thank you for it: Doing good leads to strong immune cells, Mail Online, July 30, 2013)