Many people agree that when you give back – whether it’s in the form of volunteering, caring for others, or donating money to a worthy cause – you feel good. Have you ever wondered why that is? According to researchers at Emory University, when you perform an act of kindness, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up, as if you were the recipient of the good deed yourself.
So if you need a little extra motivation to give back and help make your community more sustainable, note all the surprising benefits we found for those who serve others:
Give back to live longer
A study published by the APA journal Health Psychology claims that people who volunteer may live longer than those who don’t, as long as they are volunteering in order to help others and not themselves.
Give back for better health
Volunteering has been shown to reduce heart rate, blood pressure and stress while also boosting the immune system.
Give back to be happier
Research shows that giving back is actually the antidote to stress and depression. Simply put: giving makes people happy.
Give back to feel connected
Giving back helps create and strengthen our social connections. The concept of paying it forward promotes trust and cooperation with others and unites people around a common goal: doing good.
Give back to inspire others
The wonderful thing about doing a good deed is that it tends to create a domino effect. If you pay off a stranger’s library fee, he or she is much more likely to do a kind act for someone else (and on and on the good deeds go). This process has become known as paying it forward, but the scientific name for it is “upstream reciprocity.”
Feeling inspired to give back? Here is a list of fun ways you can give back to your community, but feel free to think outside of the box or search for more opportunities to create a sustainable, thriving community.