Giving is Good for Your Health

Author National Philanthropic Trust

September 16, 2013

The Americans’ Changing Lives study is the oldest, ongoing national study of social, psychological and behavioral factors in health. Researchers from the National Institute of Aging started with a representative cross-section of the U.S. population in 1986 and have followed those survivors for the past 25 years. ACL is the first—but certainly not the only—study to determine that volunteerism and giving is good for your physical and mental health. Making charitable donations triggers the brain’s reward center, the same way food and sex do; researchers call it a “helper’s high.” 

Some findings from ACL and other studies found that volunteers experience:
• lower rates of depression (University of Texas)
• lower blood pressure (University of Michigan)
• lower rates of heart disease (Corporation for National and Community Service)
• longer lifespan (UC-Berkeley)

So, giving feels good in every way.