Have you ever heard people say ‘it is better to give than to receive’? A lot of us have grown up hearing the phrase bandied around. Did you know there is really something in this? For what it’s worth, it appears there is proof!
Boost your immunity
Simply contemplating generosity boosts your immunity: One Harvard study showed that the brain’s pleasure centres light up when people made check marks next to a list of organisations to which they wanted to donate! In another study, when students watched a film about Mother Teresa tending to orphans, the number of protective antibodies in their saliva surged. When the students were asked to focus on times when they’d been loved by or loving to others, their antibody levels stayed elevated for an hour. In a study conducted at Carnegie Mellon University, people who were socially connected, like those who regularly volunteer, reported catching fewer colds.
Help your heart
Being generous with your attention can reduce your risk of heart attack. Cardiac arrest is highly correlated with the amount of self-reference (“I,” “me,” “my”) in a person’s speech. Quite ironically, the more we prioritise, care about and connect with others it actually lowers the risk of dying from heart disease.
Lower your pain
People suffering from chronic pain report increased ability, while pain intensity and depression decrease when they reach out to others in similar pain or distress. In one study, pain was reduced by 13 percent. Scientists believe the release of endorphins explains the phenomenon.
So, it’s now only five weeks till Christmas. Christmas is not just a time for “shopping therapy”, but of reflection, giving, and gratitude. Why not try on some “giving therapy” now and help those less fortunate that ourselves to escape the poverty cycle. Help others and help yourself!
Donate to the Global Development Group Christmas Appeal: www.gdgusa.org/GDGChristmas16
If there is a specific country or project you would like to donate to, please go to our projects page: https://globaldevelopmentgroup.org/us/projects/
Much of the information in the above article is sourced from: Stephen Post, PhD, and Jill Neimark, ‘Why Good Things Happen to Good People’ (Broadway).