10 Astonishing Ways Giving Improves Your Health

Pursuing the writer’s life isn’t just about getting paid to write things from the comfort of your home.

There’s a lot more to it. Probably the major reason people — myself included — take up this lifestyle is because we want happiness and fulfillment in life.

This lifestyle certainly offers you that — but not just in the way you might imagine. It goes beyond earning a cushy living and having bragging rights to a lot of free time. A truly rewarding writer’s life is where you move past the fun of getting paid to write and instead build a life with deeper purpose — i.e., something that gives you personal satisfaction and joy.

For most freelance writers, this includes giving to others. If this describes you, then you’ll like what follows: The act of giving comes back to you tenfold in — who would have thought? — health benefits.

You Can’t Quibble with this Much Medical Science

According to Stephen Post, Ph.D., a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, there’s scientific proof that giving boosts health and invites happiness. Together with his colleague, Jill Neimark, Post uncovered close to 500 scientific studies that prove giving is an essential way to secure excellent mental and physical health.

And, they’re not the only ones trumpeting the health benefits of giving:

  1. According to Wellesley College psychologist Paul Wink, teaching kids to give while they’re still young correlates with good mental and physical health throughout their life span.
  2. When Harvard students watched a film about Mother Teresa tending orphans, the number of protective antibodies in their saliva surged. This proves that even contemplating giving can boost your immunity.
  3. The same Harvard students had elevated antibody levels for a full hour after being asked to think about times when they’d felt loved or were loving to others.
  4. A Carnegie Mellon University study showed people who were better connected socially, such as through volunteering, reported catching fewer colds.
  5. Stanford researchers found that volunteering frequently actually delays death.
  6. In another study, all people had to do to make the pleasure centers of their brains light up was make checkmarks next to a list of organizations to which they wanted to donate.
  7. Giving protects your overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease, according to research Post cites.
  8. Scientists think endorphins get released when people reach out to others who share a similar problem (such as cancer), which is why those same people enjoy a decrease in intensity and fewer debilitating effects from their illnesses.
  9. An Ohio State University study administered tiny blisters to married couples. Couples were then asked to talk to each other supportively during one study visit and then harshly on a second visit. The blisters took longer to heal after the harsh encounters than the supportive ones.
  10. Heart attacks closely relate to the level of self-reference a person indulges in (i.e., the use of “I,” “me,” and “my”) in daily speech. The antidote is, of course, listening to others and connecting with a purpose larger than yourself.

This Really Is a Win-Win-Win Kind of Lifestyle

Studies show that people who work jobs they’re not passionate about, doing things they don’t enjoy, tend to suffer unwanted health effects. They’re more likely to be depressed, have arthritis, and live shorter lives.

But, when you do something you love, like writing for a living, you don’t have to deal with any of that. Better yet, you can build the kind of lifestyle that allows for significant giving, both of your time and your resources. And that, like we talked about above, brings you all kinds of excellent health benefits.

Make it your New Year’s resolution this year to go after the writer’s life so you can build an energized, healthy, and wealthy life.

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Published: December 28, 2011

3 Responses to “10 Astonishing Ways Giving Improves Your Health”

  1. Excellent atricle Mindy, Great advice and very motivating. Thanks for this health tip.

    Marcellus Greene

  2. Thank you so much Good article. I wish every body reads it.
    May God bless you more.

    Guest (Jabani)

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