Most people find it is so. Research says it is so. Paul, the apostle, affirms it in Acts 20:35 with these words from Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 NIV). Words penned by St. Francis of Assisi sum it up clearly, “It is in giving that we receive.” Giving selflessly, whether donating to charity, volunteering or giving gifts, has health benefits. Below are some reasons why:
Giving can lower mortality: According to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), “In the U.S., people who give their time by volunteering have lower mortality rates than those who do not.” Additionally, findings by the American Journal of Public Health, show that helping others, whether by helping to run errands, watching children or giving someone a needed ride, is linked with a decreased mortality risk. According to another study at Berkeley UCLA, “People who were 55 and older who volunteered regularly were 44% less likely to die over a five-year period than those who didn’t volunteer.”
Giving can lower heart disease: The same review done by the CNCS found that, “States with the highest rates of volunteerism also had the lowest rates of heart disease. On the other hand, states with fewer volunteers reported more people with heart problems.”
Giving can increase happiness: According to Scientific American, “People who gave tended to have lower rates of depression and higher rates of self-reported happiness.” This was traced to greater amounts of endorphins that the body releases. People who were stingy reported feeling stressed from the shame of not giving caused by greater levels of cortisol the brain released.
Giving can increase work related happiness: Those who gave of themselves by helping others in their workplace found they felt better about work and their co-workers. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that being generous, where there is cooperation and everyone benefits from working together, led to more success than being selfish.
Giving can lower blood pressure: The International Journal of Psychophysiology stated that, “People who gave social support to others had lower blood pressure.” Based on more happiness and less stress, the effects of giving effect many areas of our body including the heart.
When we give, we not only follow the example of Jesus and make the world around us a better place, we change our own lives in ways we never intended. Indeed, “It is in giving that we receive.”