Benefits of helping others

November 2022 

Helping others is not only good for them, it also boosts your happiness, health and sense of wellbeing.

Helping others comes in all forms and shapes; from volunteering at a homeless shelter, sponsoring an event, fundraising for a charity, donating money to a good cause, helping a friend or family member out to a random act of kindness for a stranger.

Here are 8 ways that helping others can benefit your own wellbeing.

According to research, helping others gives you a mental boost by providing you with a neurochemical sense of reward. When you do something kind to help somebody else, your body produces happy hormones and endorphins that foster positive emotions. Focusing on someone else’s needs also helps you to forget about your own problems.
Helping others and making a difference in someone else’s life is one of the best ways to give your life meaning. According to research, helping others enhances your sense of purpose and identity - particularly if you no longer hold a life-defining role such as an employee or parent.
Helping others isn’t only good for your health – it can also help you to live longer, research has shown. Regular volunteering, for example, can improve your ability to manage stress, boost your immune system and in turn protect you against disease. Volunteering can enhance your social life, thereby decreasing loneliness, especially in older adults. 
The positive feeling you get from helping others has an impact on how you see yourself. Studies have found that people who volunteer have higher self-esteem than people who don’t volunteer. This particular benefit increases with consistency - the more regularly you volunteer, the more your self-esteem and confidence increase.
Research shows that helping others can reduce symptoms of both acute and chronic pain. When you engage in altruistic behaviours, you can help reduce any pain you experience. The part of the brain that reacts to painful stimulation appears to be instantly deactivated by the experience of helping others. 
It turns out that helping others can also help protect you from high blood pressure. According to studies, older adults who spend time doing volunteer work lower their risk of high blood pressure, which is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease. As we get older, social transitions such as retirement, bereavement and the departure of children from the home often leave us with fewer opportunities for social interaction. Helping others strengthens social connections which in turn promotes healthy aging.
Helping others can create new friendships and bonds between you and like-minded people with similar values and interests. It can help you feel like part of a community that’s making a difference. 
If you’ve ever been the recipient of a random act of kindness you may have felt the urge to pass the kindness on to someone else. And when you choose to help others, it can inspire further acts of kindness in others too. 

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