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  • Writer's pictureJ. Wilson

Lose yourself in the service of others.

We are all about helping others, it's our business and our passion. Helping others improves their lives, while improving our communities and ourselves. There is so much emphasis on self-discovery and self-promotion today, that it's easy to forget that our identity though unique, is still built on the foundation of community. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

If you are trying to discover yourself and find a sense of fulfillment, there is no better way than to help others. Studies have shown that altruism in it's many forms can boost both your mental and physical health. It is proven that serving others can have not only spiritual benefits but physical benefits as well.

7 Scientific Benefits of Helping Others

1. Helping Others Can Help You Live Longer

Want to extend your lifespan? Think about regularly assisting at a soup kitchen or coaching a basketball team at an at-risk high school. Research has shown that these kinds of activities can improve health in ways that can length your lifespan—volunteers show an improved ability to manage stress and stave off disease as well as reduced rates of depression and an increased sense of life satisfaction—when they were performed on a regular basis. This might be because volunteering alleviates loneliness and enhances our social lives—factors that can significantly affect our long-term health.

2. Altruism is Contagious

When one person performs a good deed, it causes a chain reaction of other altruistic acts. One study found that people are more likely to perform feats of generosity after observing another do the same. This effect can ripple throughout the community, inspiring dozens of individuals to make a difference.

3. Helping Others Makes Us Happy

One team of sociologists tracked 2000 people over a five-year period and found that Americans who described themselves as “very happy” volunteered at least 5.8 hours per month. This heightened sense of well-being might be the byproduct of being more physically active as a result of volunteering, or because it makes us more socially active. Researchers also think that giving back might give individuals a mental boost by providing them with a neurochemical sense of reward.

4. Helping Others May Help With Chronic Pain

According to one study, people who suffered from chronic pain tried working as peer volunteers. As a result, they experienced a reduction in their own symptoms.

5. Helping Others Lowers Blood Pressure

If you’re at risk for heart problems, your doctor has probably told you to cut back on red meat or the hours at your stressful job. However, you should also consider adding something to your routine: a regular volunteer schedule. One piece of research showed that older individuals who volunteered for at least 200 hours a year decreased their risk of hypertension by a whopping 40 percent. This could possibly be because they were provided with more social opportunities, which help relieve loneliness and the stress that often accompanies it.

6. HELPING OTHERS PROMOTES POSITIVE BEHAVIORS IN TEENS.

According to sociologists, teenagers who volunteer have better grades and self-image.



7. HELPING OTHERS GIVES US A SENSE OF PURPOSE AND SATISFACTION.

Looking for more meaning in your day-to-day existence? Studies show that volunteering enhances an individual’s overall sense of purpose and identity—particularly if they no longer hold a life-defining role like “worker” or “parent.”


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