Showing kindness or doing a simple act of kindness not only makes those around you feel good about themselves, but can improve the health and happiness of the “sender”, according to the latest study.
This means it’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Altruism stimulates certain centers in our brain responsible for reward, according to the latest research in the field. Specifically, those chemicals that induce a feeling of well-being flood our body and produce a sensation that can be called “the euphoria of the helper.”
Volunteering, for example, has been shown to be an activity that helps in this regard: it reduces stress and has beneficial effects on depression.
Altruism helps us live longer
And the benefits don’t end there. Altruism can simultaneously reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and help us live longer. Scientists say the reason is that kindness contributes to a sense of belonging to a community. However, this significantly helps us to have a healthy and longer life.
Moreover, donating or participating in charitable activities can lower blood pressure and help us have a healthier heart. According to a study quoted by CNN, one group of people were tasked with spending $40 on their own needs, while another group (diagnosed with high blood pressure) spent the money helping others, as instructed. The conclusion was that the participants who used the money to help their neighbor had a lower blood pressure value at the end of the six weeks of research. In fact, the benefits gained from such activities are similar to those provided by a healthy diet or exercise.
Charitable actions increase pain tolerance
Donations can also reduce our pain, another research concludes. The analysis showed that people who said they would donate money to orphans were less sensitive to the electroshock stimuli than those who refused to give money to good causes.
But what could be the explanations given this information? Scientists have discovered that there are certain regions in our brain that react to pain stimuli, but these areas are deactivated almost instantly when we help our neighbor. UK researchers have concluded that when we are nicer or do a charitable gesture, our well-being can be improved in just three days.
It is true that given the current economic situation, there are fewer who can afford to donate. But to obtain, even in these situations, the benefits of altruism, study authors they have one piece of advice: “Be kind to yourself, just as you would be to others. We all deserve a break.”