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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Hagan

Doing Good Will Make You Feel Good

When involved in giving or altruism, the brain releases feel good neurotransmitters, leading to something called the “helper’s high.” Altruism defined is the act of selflessness or devotion to the welfare of others. Simply put, this is when someone goes out of their way to help another in need, without even thinking twice how the outcome will affect their own life.

Whenever someone does something altruistic for another – whether that’s offering to help an elderly neighbor carry groceries, donating money to one in need, or gifting a family and their newborn baby with a warm, homemade meal – the act stimulates the release of endorphins and serotonin in the brain’s reward centers, resulting in the “helper’s high.” In fact, studies show that even the anticipation of doing something good triggers the release of these chemicals. Studies have proven that volunteering in particular can lead to a greater sense of well being and quality of life.

Engaging in selfless behaviors, even the smallest gestures of kindness, can bring about surprising physiological results. At the top of the list are lowered blood pressure and decreased stress and anxiety. Some givers have also reported better sleep, less pain, and improvement in their moods (brought about by boosted serotonin levels). People who are generous in nature also have higher levels of oxytocin, the neurochemical that is most associated with feelings of love as well as social bonding.

In conclusion, make one small effort today to lend a hand, give a small amount of your time or make a small donation. You have nothing to lose, but only to gain.

“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.

If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.

If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.

If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”

~Chinese proverb

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