Why is giving back important?
Perhaps it’s the gaining of a better sense of community? Finding purpose? Discovering a new perspective? Well, while all of these things are tried-and-true, one of the most overlooked reasons is the direct impact giving back to others has on our overall health. And no matter your circumstances or financial ability, there’s always an opportunity to do good for others in your own way. There is just something about bringing a smile to someone’s face that has the enormous power of welcoming greater peace and meaning into your life. The vibrational energy you exude from giving back is what works to keeps you happy, humble, and healthy.
There are numerous studies showing the positive link between giving back and better overall health. Research has shown that older adults who volunteered were 44% more likely to live longer over a 5-year span than those who did not participate in volunteer activities. Controlled studies similar to this have also shown comparable results. Why? Well, the improved health and longevity one would experience from giving back can generally be described as the byproduct of reduced stress.
Experiencing too much stress happens to be one of the most detrimental effects on the human body. Headaches, fatigue, muscle tension, insomnia, anxiety, overeating, and anger are only some of the effects that stress can have. But you see, when you start incorporating more generosity into your daily life, it is shown that the stress in your life will start to subside, contributing to lowering high blood pressure, and even reducing the risk for heart disease and stroke. So the sooner you start giving back, the less likely you are to suffer from crippling illnesses and ailments later in life.
“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” â€•Maya Angelou
A healthy body also includes a healthy mind, so the effects of volunteering and giving back are just as important to your mental well-being. And we know from the Law of Attraction that what you put your energy and focus toward will come right back to you. So when you give your time to others, you are opening yourself up to so many new experiences and possibilities. You create the opportunities to learn from, interact with, and get to know others based on common interests, ultimately promoting meaningful social experiences. And in these social connections, you are building a strong support system that can boost self-confidence, a sense of accomplishment, appreciation, fulfillment, and greater life satisfaction.
You are keeping your mind active and gaining the knowledge and life experiences that can only happen when you give without expecting anything in return. This is where you start to discover meaning in life and finding a sense of purpose. So as you can see, everything is connected. And of course, volunteering your time or donating are great ways to give back and show your gratitude for your community. But giving back is something that can happen in our daily lives and often starts with the people right in your own family, friends circle, and neighborhood.
So the next time you’re looking for something fun to do, round up some friends and volunteer at a local animal shelter together. Instead of going to the gym on the weekend, participate in a 5K charity run. And did you know that your presence alone is a form of giving back? Simply being there for someone is an incredible way to spend and give your time to someone who could really use it.
Whether it’s offering to run an errand for a parent or listening to a relative share stories from their past, being present is giving back. So consider visiting a nursing home or senior center and engage in some light-hearted chats with the residents to help brighten their day. And if you’re unsure about where to start, don’t be afraid to let your passions and hobbies guide you.
If you love kids and teaching, consider donating school supplies to the local school in your area, or become a mentor or offer tutoring services. Picking up trash on the street or calling to check on your loved ones are incredible, effortless ways of showing generosity. Reach out to old friends, pay for the person in line behind you the next time you buy a cup of coffee, or simply wave hello to your neighbors. Acts like this can create that euphoric feeling like “runner’s high”, where there is a release of dopamine to the brain, causing an instant boost in happiness. You feel calm, you feel at ease, you feel like spreading kindness and generosity even more. So even small acts of giving back are beneficial to our health in the long run.
You see, the key to living a great life is to give greatly. So when you get in the habit of giving back, you get that much closer to not only finding purpose in life while taking care of your body, but also uncovering how you can help those around you. Because everyone around you can always use a helping hand in one way or another, whether they express it openly or not. So however you decide to give back, understand there is no wrong way when you’re doing good for others, even if it’s only giving a little.
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Natalie Ledwell is a best selling author, speaker and successful entrepreneur. She's passionate about helping others to achieve their greatest dreams and ambitions through her personal development programs and her online TV show, The Inspiration Show.