Why You Should Be Generous Year-Round
The holidays are an especially charitable time. And that’s a great thing- the amount of giving that happens around this time reminds us how lucky we really are and allows us to head into the new year in a thankful mindset. However, it’s important to recognize and practice the act of giving throughout the rest of the year, as well. Besides the altruistic side of generosity, being hospitable also boasts a plethora of health benefits. For instance, it can serve to lower one’s risk of depression and anxiety, while improving self-esteem and overall happiness. Stephen G. Post, Ph.D., author of Why Good Things Happen To Good People, says, "Many people can feel a physical effect when they volunteer. It's kind of like if you stop eating donuts for a couple of days and start eating vegetables, you'll start feeling more energetic and less lethargic. These acts sort of have the same effect. You get that feeling of energy and robustness." Here are a few other ways that being generous year-round can improve your overall well-being:
#1: Lowered Blood Pressure
A study done in 2006 found that doing acts of charitable kindness could potentially lower one’s blood pressure. Therefore, if you are feeling anxious or out of sorts for whatever reason, lending a helping hand (or a listening ear) to another person who needs it may be the perfect way to improve both your mood and your cardiovascular health. Do your best to be sensitive to others’ needs and you may be more inclined to be in tune with your own.
#2: Increased Energy Levels
A 2003 study performed at the University of California, Davis indicated that people who regularly took the time to recognize the positive aspects of their lives and were grateful for them had an overall increase in energy. Furthermore, this increase in energy inevitably leads to more physical activity on a daily basis, thus allowing for overall improved physical health. The bottom line? Be grateful for all that you have. Your body (and mind) will thank you, both presently and down the line.
#3: Longer Life Expectancy
Research has shown that people who take the time to volunteer on at least a semi-regular basis have an increased life expectancy of about twenty-two percent, as well as a heightened satisfaction with life, overall. It is also thought that the act of giving back and being compassionate can help a person to recover from various ailments, such as addiction.