Living Longer on the “Helper’s High”?

Think you feel good when you volunteer to read to the elderly, or plant vegetables in an inner city garden space, or any of the other great things you probably do to help others? There might some real evidence why that is!

Back in 1956 a team of Cornell University researchers began following 427 women who where married with children. The researchers thought that the housewives with more children would experience the greatest stress, therefore supposing that these women would also die younger. But the researchers were wrong. 

They learned that education, class and work distinctions did not affect the women's longevity, nor did the number of children the women had to care for. After following the subjects for 30 years, they learned that although 36 percent of the women who volunteered experienced a major illness over the years, of those who did not volunteer, 52 percent  experienced a major illness. Hmmm.

Another study revealed that older adults who volunteer simply live longer than those in the study who do not, while still another study found early death among those who were volunteering a lot was 44 percent lower than those who did not--a greater effect on longevity than those in the study who exercised four times a week!

Here’s the medical deal: When we do good on behalf of others we reduce our stress levels, thus reducing the adverse affects of hormones like cortisol and high heart and breathing rates that adversely affect our immune and cardiovascular systems. These stress responses weaken the body’s defenses opening us up to abnormal cellular changes, including premature breakdown of natural functions and even cancer. In studies of telomeres—the end-caps of our genes—researchers found that long-term stress can shorten those end-caps, and shortened end-caps are linked with early death.

“Ultimately,” said one source, “the process of cultivating a positive emotional state through pro-social behaviors—being generous—may lengthen your life.”

So, add this evidence of a longer, even happier life to your own urges to put your hands and heart to work for others. Most people don’t need this evidence…but it is certainly nice to know. Happy helping all you great people!
-Nancy



 


Comments

Alan A. Glazier
01/14/2016 9:06pm

Hello

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01/20/2017 5:49am

My grandma reminds me that every time I get to visit her on her own home. She always tells me that it’s good to volunteer. She said it doesn’t need to be monetary but more of the physical aspect. Some people thought that once you give out money, it’s already a volunteer work. No, it’s not. There are plenty of things to do in non-profit organization. It requires more manpower while financial help is ok but the volunteer activity has a lot to do.

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09/26/2017 8:54am

All of us have our own different reasons why we volunteer for a certain thing. In volunteering, you should know that passion and dedication are two equally important qualities you need to have because that means you are open to all possibilities that might happen. It takes a strong heart and mind to be a volunteer, juts like what Katniss Everdeen did in Hunger Games. She volunteered as a tribute!

09/04/2016 7:43am

Nice blog, good to read about your efforts for the needy people.You have been working for the betterment of others.I appreciate your efforts.you are doing an excellent job by working for the welfare of people without any discrimination of creed, color and cast.

Reply
11/17/2016 2:19am

And we are so happy that you are so helpful for us! Thank you so much for all that words!

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Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.


Keep Posting:)

Reply
03/06/2017 1:14pm

Because you can. You don't need a particular reason for this.

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05/07/2017 4:29am

You can help someone so it is only a matter of willingness. Do you want or not?

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10/29/2017 6:13am

This is very great to helping people it can be a baby in school, youngers and the older one the thing is this how you can help because every generations have a different mindset and we have to adjust with them try to communicate with them first and solve their issues.

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