Healthy You

Can giving make you happier and healthier?

We all know that giving helps others. But what about the giver?  More than just that warm, fuzzy feeling we get from helping others (which is, of course, awesome in itself), giving may lead to some incredible health benefits like lower blood pressure, increased self-esteem, less depression, lower stress levels and even longer life.1 

Giving supports our health

There is an astonishing connection between generosity and health.  In his book Why Good Things Happen to Good People, Stephen Post, a professor of preventative medicine at Stony Brook University reports that helping others has been shown to bring health benefits to those with chronic illness, including HIV, multiple sclerosis, and heart problems.

Research suggests that one of the reasons giving may improve our physical health is that it helps decrease stress which is associated with a myriad of health problems.  Technically, it isn’t the act of giving that gives us these health benefits, it’s the act of kindness that increases our positive energy, which in turn cuts our stress hormones and lowers the chemicals that increase inflammation in our body.

Giving makes us happy

People of all ages who help others on a regular basis, even in small ways, feel happiest. These feel good emotions are reflected in our physiology.  In a 2006 study Jorge Moll and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health found that when people give to charities, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect.  

When we’re giving, our brains secrete “feel good” chemicals such as serotonin (a mood-mediating chemical), dopamine (a feel-good chemical) and oxytocin (a compassion and bonding chemical).  These chemicals invoke the positive feeling also known as “helper’s high”.2 

Giving is contagious

One of the best benefits of giving is that it seems to be contagious.  Research shows that when one person behaves generously, it inspires others to behave generously later.  “As a result, each person in a network can influence dozens or even hundreds of people, some of whom he or she does not know and has not met.”3 

"Life’s persistent and most urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"  Martin Luther King Jr.

The takeaway

Giving comes in many forms — volunteering in your community, donating to your favorite organization or charity, holding open a door, giving blood to your local blood bank, babysitting for a busy parent, even just giving the kindness of a smile to strangers.  The list is endless!!  

At DrTung’s, our philosophy is Love, Care and Consciousness.  We build this into every aspect of our business — from making natural, highly effective products that give you the very best oral care options, to giving back to the earth with our ongoing sustainability initiatives, to donating to organizations that share our same love for the planet and its inhabitants (humans and animals alike).

Just remember, all this giving will help build stronger social connections and maybe even jumpstart a cascade of generosity through your community.  Ultimately, it helps us all become better, healthier and happier people.  

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