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Why is it worth helping others? 5 amazing facts

Why is it worth helping others? 5 amazing facts

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We help for various reasons and in different styles. Some, because they can't do otherwise. Others, because they want to pay off the debt in this way, send positive energy to the world, thank for what they have often received quite selflessly from strangers. We help because we want to think well about ourselves. We have a need to improve our mood, feel nobler, or to get a convincing mood that we are important to someone, that we can be useful.

Interestingly: helping, we gain something else. Real health benefits. What?

You help? You prolong your life

In 2013, scientists reviewed the results of 40 studies conducted in various countries around the world. All of them indicate that volunteering can extend life. According to some statistics, this can reduce mortality by 22%.

How much help do you need to prolong your life? Some studies indicate that already 100 hours a year reduces the risk of death by 28%. However, Elizabeth Lightfoot of the University of Minnesota emphasizes that this is not a magic number. You can help either for 75 or 125 hours and the health benefit is noticeable every time.

The only thing worth knowing is that the help should be systematic, spread over time.

Research at Jama Pediatrics indicates that high school students improved their blood test results by helping others once a week for two months, and the positive aspects of these activities were noticeable a few years later.

More on this topic.

Better mood

The easiest way is to help, because in this way we improve our mood. This is because noble gestures affect the secretion of dopamine, an important neurotransmitter. Scientists were able to determine that five small acts of kindness (even small ones: help with shopping, bringing a stroller, passing in queue) during the week repeated for six weeks are enough to notice positive changes in well-being.

Interestingly, according to the authors of the study, one-time help is not so important. Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor at the University of California, emphasizes that the positive aspects of help are accumulating quickly. Therefore, the more often and willingly we help, the more benefits we derive from these activities.

Research findings published in BMC Public Health indicate that people who regularly help others are less likely to experience depression or burnout.

Less loneliness

Helping others allows people to go out, increase the number of contacts, helps to find related souls. This is a very valuable health benefit. Studies and simply the experience of many people indicate that loneliness, like smoking, contributes to high blood pressure, increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and dementia. People who have the support of kind people live longer and are happier.

Lower blood pressure

The journal Psychology and Aging published the results of studies according to which people over the age of 50 who decided to help for at least 200 hours in the last year (about 4 hours a week) were 40% less likely to develop hypertension by four consecutive years.

Scientists point out that the positive effects of helping may be related to stress reduction. In addition, volunteering motivates to work on oneself, broadens the network of contacts, gives a positive mood and gives support to cope with everyday problems.

Less pain

With chronic pain, you can reduce the onset of discomfort by deciding to help people who suffer from the same or a similar illness.

"Pain Management Nursing" presents a study according to which the average pain rating fell from 6 to 4 points after patients decided to help other people suffering from the same disease. In this way, people helping others learned to manage their own discomfort, they found confidence, a sense of control over the situation and positive energy to fight the disease. By mentally supporting others, they also improved their mood.

Interestingly, all of the health benefits discussed above do not occur when we help, throwing coins into the piggy bank of people questioning in the streets or when we help in a random way. What counts is the commitment, time and regularity of the support provided.

On the other hand, a similar effect - no health benefits from volunteering - occurs when helping becomes a burden, takes all the free time, and forces behavior beyond the capabilities of a particular person. Then it is a source of frustration and dissatisfaction.


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