Members in the Media
From: Chicago Tribune

Be generous: It’s a simple way to stay healthier

Chicago Tribune:

If there’s a magic pill for happiness and longevity, we may have found it.

Countless studies have found that generosity, both volunteering and charitable donations, benefits young and old physically and psychologically.

The benefits of giving are significant, according to those studies: lower blood pressure, lower risk of dementia, less anxiety and depression, reduced cardiovascular risk, and overall greater happiness.

Studies show that when people think about helping others, they activate a part of the brain called the mesolimbic pathway, which is responsible for feelings of gratification. Helping others doles out happiness chemicals, including dopamine, endorphins that block pain signals and oxytocin, known as the tranquillity hormone.

Even just the thought of giving money to a specific charity has this effect on the brain, research shows.

Intuition tells us that giving more to oneself is the best way to be happy. But that’s not the case, according to Dan Ariely, professor of behavioral economics and psychology at Duke University.

A 2012 study in the journal Health Psychology by Sara Konrath and a team at the University of Michigan found that older adult volunteers had a lower risk of dying in a four-year period than nonvolunteers, as long as they volunteered for altruistic versus self-oriented reasons.

Read the whole story: Chicago Tribune

More of our Members in the Media >

Comments

Good to see volunteering being mentioned here-one of the most valuable gifts many people give is their time. Interestingly, some psychological researchers have been looking at ways of studying this form of giving in the lab (see post below).

http://andrewspsychologyarchive.blogspot.ie/2015/03/a-helping-hand-time-or-money.html


APS regularly opens certain online articles for discussion on our website. Effective February 2021, you must be a logged-in APS member to post comments. By posting a comment, you agree to our Community Guidelines and the display of your profile information, including your name and affiliation. Comments will be moderated. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations present in article comments are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of APS or the article’s author. For more information, please see our Community Guidelines.

Please login with your APS account to comment.