We are living in tumultuous times. We have so many things that tend to pop up and cause worry. Finances, health, emotional and family problems are all common issues. Many people start to get a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. This impacts their health causing pain, disease, fatigue and depression. I care for many patients where this is the case.
In trying to help them, I have found something that works. That thing is becoming a helper. It costs no money and it improves their health by boosting the immune system and improving brain function. Doing something for others is the key to feeling better.
Studies have found that those who give of themselves experience joy and happiness. It can be something as simple as volunteering for the SMART program and reading to children or working at a food bank. The hospitals and many clinics welcome volunteers. For those who want to donate money there are infinite worthy causes.
People who help others have been studied. Researchers have found that they experience a surge in their endorphins similar to the high that runners experience. Giving to others in need decreases the intensity and awareness of pain, relieves stress, and activates positive emotions. All these things help to improve health. The results of a study done in 2700 men in Michigan found that those men who worked as regular volunteers had a two and a half times lower death rate than those who did not.
Amazing things happen when one goes from being the one who is helped to being the helper. It is nothing short of a miracle. Over and over I see people heal and feel good about themselves and what they are doing. It is easy to get wrapped up in our lives and ourselves, but stepping out of it and realizing that we each have something valuable to give can be good for us as well as others.