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Get the ‘helper’s high’

by on March 21, 2013

(Story by Pamela W. Busby)

When you help others, you experience emotional benefits — a feeling of calmness, or even euphoria, after doing a good deed. But it’s more than a feeling; it’s also a physiological reaction. Your body releases endorphins that make you feel happy, calm, and less stressed.

Participating in volunteer activities like charitable walk-a-thons can benefit both the giver and the recipient.Source: AEP file photo

And this stress reduction can boost your immune system, which is weakened by chronic stress and negative feelings. In one study, volunteers who said they had experienced the Helper’s High also self-reported better health than non-volunteers.

Helping others can not only help you live a healthier and happier life, but a longer life, too. Several studies have shown that volunteers live longer on average than non-volunteers. In a Duke University Medical Center study, former heart patients who visited current heart patients had better health and recovered 60 percent faster from their own heart attacks than former patients who chose not to volunteer.

Volunteer activities clearly benefit both the giver and the recipient. So, how can you volunteer?

  • Consider participating in care package drives for troops stationed overseas.
  • Look for local charitable walks; for example, AEP employees participate in walks to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, American Heart Association Heart Walk, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and many, many others.
  • Find volunteer opportunities close to your workplace or home, like a nearby hospital or nursing home.

Whatever volunteer activity you engage in, remember there’s something in it for you! So go ahead, help someone. It’ll make you feel good in more ways than one!

Source: Professional Health Services

From → Wellness

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