“It is more blessed to give than receive”
is one of the most repeated Biblical quotes in our language. This is most likely due to the fact that so many people have recognized it’s powerful truth. Even people who don’t necessarily believe the Bible have experienced the blessing of giving to and serving others.
Science also confirms the benefits of helping others. Studies show that the act of giving can boost happiness, health, peace, and well-being. As usual, the Bible is way ahead of science, but it’s still a great reminder to us. Here are 7 ways helping others helps you.
1. HELPING OTHERS REDUCES STRESS.
Anxiety and stress are common among patients and caregivers alike. Research has shown that those who volunteer are better able to handle stress. This ability also makes them less susceptible to infection and other diseases. In addition, volunteers are less likely to be depressed and experience a greater level of life satisfaction.
2. HELPING OTHERS MAKES US HAPPY.
One study tracked a group of 2000 Americans over a five year period. Sociologists found that those who described themselves as “very happy” volunteered at least 5.8 hours per month. This is partly the result of either a heightened level of physical activity or increased social interaction. Studies have also shown that altruism stimulates the “happiness centers” in our brains. That means when we give to others, our brains give us an instant reward.
3. HELPING OTHERS MAY REDUCE CHRONIC PAIN.
Participants in another study reported a reduction in chronic pain as a byproduct of giving and serving. In this study, chronic pain patients worked as peer volunteers. As a result, many of them experienced a reduction in their own symptoms.
4. HELPING OTHERS MAY LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE.
Research has shown that those who volunteer tend to have a lower risk of hypertension. A group of older individuals was surveyed as to lifestyle and health. Those who said they volunteered at least 200 hours per year were a whopping 40% less likely to suffer from hypertension. Again this could certainly be related to the decreased stress that results from increased social interaction as well.
5. HELPING OTHERS CONNECTS US TO OUR COMMUNITY.
Sociologists and psychologists agree that being connected to a nurturing community is essential to good mental and physical health. Positive relationships help us maintain a general sense of well-being. Serving our community helps us take our attention off our own problems as well. This alone can be life-changing for many.
6. HELPING OTHERS HELPS YOUR HEART.
If you are at risk for heart disease, you have probably figured this one out by now. All these benefits add up to a pretty powerful heart medicine. Your general well-being and physical health can get quite a boost from living to serve others.
7. HELPING OTHERS GIVES US A SENSE OF PURPOSE AND SATISFACTION.
Many patients no longer hold certain roles, such as jobs or family responsibilities, that once gave life purpose. Finding ways to give and serve can restore that sense of purpose.
Hospice patients have a lot to give.
Patients should find ways to keep giving. Some can still volunteer outside the home, and if you can, you should. However, many homebound patients have found ways to continue to serve. Writing letters, putting together care packages, making crafts as gifts, or just giving others words of encouragement are examples.
One of the most rewarding things many do is to sponsor children through organizations like Compassion International. Sponsored kids often write personal letters of thanks to sponsors, which are always a huge blessing to receive. There will always be people who need you!
Hospice and Palliative Care
If you or a loved one are in need of hospice or palliative care, please do not hesitate to contact Seasons Hospice in Springfield, Missouri. Whether you are a patient, family member, or caregiver, we are here for you. Call us today at (417) 890-5533 and speak with one of our caring and professional staff. We will walk with you every step of the way, answer all your questions, and help you find the best care possible.