How Giving Back Effects Our Health
The Power of Giving
Shared by Dr. Anthony Vasile
The Power of Giving
I am a person that finds joy in giving gifts. I like to make crafts and I also like to buy items that bring a smile to someone’s face. It does not even have to be a special occasion. If I see an item that reminds me of someone and that they could use, I will most likely buy it. Little did I know that this giving makes me healthier. Some people may be thinking, what or how? There is a lot of research about how giving or serving not only makes you feel good and gives you a sense of purpose, but can also change you physically.
I found this research article that looked into on how giving or spending money on someone actually lowers blood pressure. The article is titled “Is spending money on others good for your heart?”. There were two studies in this article. Study 1 took 186 older adults diagnosed with high blood pressure participating in the Midlife in the U.S. Study (MIDUS). Study 2 took 73 older adults diagnosed with high blood pressure and assigned them to spend money on others or to spend money on themselves.
In study 1 the more money people spent on others, the lower their blood pressure was 2 years later. In Study 2, participants who were assigned to spend money on others for 3 consecutive weeks subsequently exhibited lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to participants assigned to spend money on themselves. The magnitude of these effects was comparable to the effects of interventions such as anti-hypertensive medication or exercise.
This study shows the power of giving, as well as the mind and intention. Spending money on others shapes cardiovascular health. There are also no negative side effects to this like there are with current anti-hypertensive drugs. So, do yourself a favor by spending money on a friend, family member or someone that could use a positive gesture in their life. It will not only make them happy, but it will help your heart stay healthy! A great choice would be to send a friend into the clinic and pay for their initial exam. Not only will it give them a chance to see what is going in with their health, you will be supporting a local charity, and you will be doing your health a favor.
Whillans AV, Dunn EW, Sandstrom GM, Dickerson SS, Madden KM. Is spending money on others good for your heart? Health Psychol. 2016 Jun;35(6):574-83. doi: 10.1037/hea0000332. Epub 2016 Feb 11. PMID: 26867038.
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