From helping a friend, to even volunteering your time to a good cause, you can definitely agree that these acts of kindness instill a positive feeling inside.
A feeling of satisfaction, contentness, and the realization that no matter how big or small, you just made another person’s life better. However, have you asked yourself why these positive feelings always follow the simple act of service? It turns out that when one helps others can spark a variety of positive psychological and physical benefits that substantially improve our lives in the process.
One of the first major benefits of helping others is a decrease in the effects of stress, depression, and anxiety. When you give back to others, you end up countering any mental struggles you are facing, especially when you support others who may be struggling with challenges in their own lives.
Don’t just take it from me, though. Studies have shown that there is a clear relationship between the act of helping others and the state of one’s mood following this action.
In a study performed by Elizabeth B. Raposa (UCLA and Yale University School of Medicine) and Holly B. Laws (Yale University School of Medicine), individuals that engaged in small acts of service such as helping people with schoolwork, holding a door for someone, and even offering help resulted in an increased mood, tested by a ten question mental health scoring assessment, known officially as the Positive and Negative Affect Scale.
Along with the clearly evident mental health benefits, there are also clear physical benefits of engaging in the service of others, such as lowered blood pressure levels and even an increase in lifespan!
According to a study performed by the University of Michigan, older people who engaged in volunteering reduced their risk of dying by 60% compared to others who did not provide service to others. This was due to the fact that individuals who were more motivated to help others ended up becoming more evolutionary fit in the process, as helping others gave them motivation in all aspects of their life to stay alive and contribute to the wellbeing of others, no matter what their state of health was.
Now, I know what you might be thinking. What can you do to help others? Remember that helping others can be something as small as opening a door for someone else. Regardless of the degree of service that you provide, there will always be a personal health and psychological benefit from doing so.
If you are interested in volunteering your time with Glitter of Hope, head to the Get Involved section of our website to submit a quick form so you can get started with us!