How Volunteering Could Lower Stress and Inflammation

Lower Stress and Inflammation

Through Volunteering

Shared by Dr. Bryan Stephens

Lower Stress and Inflammation

It’s the holidays and I thought it would be fitting to discuss how volunteering time and kindness can help save yourself from cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.  I was listening to a talk by Dr. Wayne Dyer last month which started me on this kick of sharing how kindness can help not only the person receiving and the person giving, but also the person who witnesses the kindness!  This is done due to the release of serotonin and other endorphins that help lower our levels of stress and inflammation.  Managing stress is incredibly important to our health and on our ability to keep inflammation to healthy levels as increased levels lead towards pain and chronic disease when present for extended periods of time!

The talk didn’t go into detail on the type of kindness, but seeing how volunteering is a donation of time, I thought it was applicable with the season for giving.  The great news is that there is research to show the great benefits to the cardiovascular health for the volunteers.  When looking at the five risk factors for cardiovascular disease (central adiposity, hypertension, lipid dysregulation, elevated blood glucose levels, and high inflammation), Burr et al. found that volunteers were less likely to have high central adiposity, lipid dysregulation, elevated blood glucose levels.  This led to an overall decrease in the risk for cardiovascular disease for middle aged adults and, to a lesser extent, older aged adults.  The risk of metabolic syndrome was also decreased among volunteers.

It is amazing at what some kindness can do for you.  It turns out to be true what they say, a little kindness goes a long way.

 

References

Burr JA, Han SH, Tavares JL. Volunteering and Cardiovascular Disease Risk: Does Helping Others Get “Under the Skin?”. Gerontologist. 2016 Oct;56(5):937-47. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnv032. Epub 2015 Apr 15. PMID: 26035902.

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