Healthy giving

Giving can be fun. It also can be healthy.

Giving has been found to increase happiness and reduce depression, to improve one’s quality of life.

Since depression, anxiety, and stress involve a high degree of focus on the self, focusing on the needs of others literally helps shift our thinking” writes Lisa Farino in an MSN Health & Fitness article¹ entitled, “Do Good, Feel Good”.

A 2003 study² of the elderly conducted by researchers at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan found that those who participated in volunteering and caregiving had a lower risk of dying over a five-year period. They also found that the motives, or thinking, of the givers was key – the health benefits accrued to those with “other-oriented” motives and not to those with “self-oriented” motives.

Giving, with the right motives in thought, is healthy. It’s not “give to receive”. It’s “give, and you will receive”³.

So how might one give to others? Here’s some ways I can give, that I’ve thought of:

Give them a dose of respect and a serving of kindness. Give them tolerance. Give them a helping hand if they need it and independence if they don’t. Give them your attention when they have something to say. Give them a compliment when they’ve done well, and even when they haven’t. Give them a smile to brighten their day.

Have a very happy, healthy holiday season of selfless giving!

¹Do Good, Feel Good – New research shows that helping others may be the key to happiness by Lisa Farino, MSN Health & Fitness
² Sara Konrath, University of Michigan and University of Rochester Medical Center, Andrea Fuhrel-Forbis and Alina Lou, University of Michigan, Stephanie Brown, University of Michigan and Stony Brook University Medical Center; “Motives for Volunteering Are Associated With Mortality Risk in Older Adults“, Health Psychology, August 15, 2011, © 2011 American Psychological Association.
³ Luke 6:38, New Living Translation © 2007
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