Your Ride to Lasting Happiness

(Read in under :03)“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”Winston Churchill

Have you ever noticed many volunteers in places like hospitals, schools, and libraries tend to be older folks? Do you think they volunteer just because they’re senior citizens who don’t have much else to do? Or that it’s simply a remedy for loneliness or boredom? Look again, what you’re seeing is true happiness. Check out those smiles!

Consider this, they may be blessed with so many birthdays in part because they volunteer. It’s true. Kind and helpful people actually live longer, healthier lives and “other-oriented” people are simply happier. So, you might find some selfish reasons to give volunteering a try!

The impressive benefits of helping others

“For it is in giving that we receive.”Saint Francis of Assisi

Exhaustive studies have proved the positive results from volunteering and helping others. It’s a fact, all our little problems melt away when our mind isn’t solely focused on our own concerns. What’s more exciting, the beneficial effects are long term! A Psychology Today article points out that giving assistance to others protects our emotional well-being and improves our physical health as well. As if by magic, our little aches and pains seem to go away and get this; the benefits are twice as effective as taking aspirin for heart disease.

Maybe you want to die young and grumpy, I don’t know. However, if a long and happy life is what you want, consider this. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations reduce their mortality rate by 44%! That means helping others has a greater effect on maintaining good health than exercise, gender, and marital status!

In fact, it has a stronger influence on our health and longevity than regular church attendance or working out four days a week. And consider this, volunteering is nearly as beneficial to our health as quitting smoking!

Modern science supports ancient thoughts about happiness

“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”~Chinese proverb

It’s fundamental, we find happiness by helping others. And it’s clear, the greatest thinkers have known this since the beginning of time. But today, sophisticated tests using fMRI technology can actually prove it!

An fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) is a fairly recent, non-invasive medical scan. It gives doctors a peek inside our brain to find out what we’re thinking and feeling. The changes in blood flow to specific areas give clues to the activity in certain emotional centers. Since the invention of this modern technology, scientists can use fMRI results to pinpoint that kindness and giving activate the same parts of the brain stimulated by food and sex. In conclusion, the evidence tells us altruism is hardwired in the brain—and it produces pleasure!

What a great case for giving a helping hand! I’m always more joyful when I’m doing good for someone and I’d love to hear your happy stories! When has helping others been a blessing in your life? Please share a comment and invite a friend to subscribe! See you Thursday!

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