The act of giving unto others is one that can spread goodwill, positivity, and warmth. However, social and self-esteem-related benefits to philanthropy aren’t the only ones available; researchers have discovered surprising physical and mental health perks for those who help others in need. It isn’t farfetched to say that philanthropy and charitable giving can quite literally improve your life. Research has proven time and time again that when you give, you most certainly receive.
Higher Levels of Dopamine, Serotonin, and Oxytocin
Making donations and participating in volunteer efforts isn’t just “making you happy.” In actuality, such efforts can increase levels of certain chemicals in the brain. Such chemicals include the mood-balancing serotonin, the reward-motivating dopamine, and the compassion chemical oxytocin. Colloquially, these are known as “feel-good” chemicals, as they lead to positive thoughts and overall happiness.
Greater Promotion of General Health
Because charitable giving can improve production of these chemicals, philanthropy is associated with reduced rates of depression and stress levels. That inner satisfaction you get after making a donation or taking part in volunteerism is more than meets the eye—it’s a psychosomatic phenomenon.
On the preventive side, giving towards charity can reduce the risk of stress- and depression-related illnesses. For example, because philanthropists experience lower stress levels, they could be less prone to general stress, anxiety, and stomach ulcers. In addition, the lower levels of stress and depression mean that donating is good for your mental health.
Improved Physical Health
Over the course of many years, philanthropy can do much more than improve your mindset. According to studies on how giving is good to your health, findings show that donating to charity can positively impact your lifespan. This occurs due to the impact of philanthropy on several interrelated factors, including:
- Reduced blood pressure
- Decreased chances of heart disease
- Improved overall cardiovascular health
Charitable giving is also associated with other general benefits, such as boosted self-esteem and self-worth. It is through such self-esteem that you get to lead a meaningful life that is accompanied by additional health benefits, which culminate in happiness.