Dec 8, 2015
'Tis the Season for Giving!
Several studies suggest that giving your time, effort, and money to others can be a boon for brain health. For instance, one large study in Detroit found that people who gave help to others (such as childcare, transportation, or housework) were less affected by stress than those who didn't. A pilot study from Johns Hopkins showed that older adults who volunteered maintained and even improved their brain health. And other studies have shown that charitable giving lights up the reward system in the brain-helping you feel as good as if you received the money instead of giving it.
Do you know someone who is going through a hard time and could use a little help right now? Reach out and lend them support, whether that means making them a meal, helping them with their kids or whatever else might be useful. If you already give yourself, your time, or your money on a regular basis, then you're a step ahead!
Volunteer for the holidays. Work at a local food bank, organize presents for a gift-giving campaign...whatever sounds meaningful to you. Decide how you're going to include giving or volunteering as a regular part of your life in 2016. If you have special skills-in computers, construction, languages, or any other field-they may be especially valuable for organizations looking for help. Depending on where you live, there may be websites that can help you find volunteer opportunities (such as www.volunteercecil.org ). If you already give of yourself, your time, or your money on a regular basis, then you're a step ahead!
Is All Giving Good?
The science isn't totally in, but it seems like the intention of the giver matters. When people give freely, selflessly, and with a positive outlook is when it's most likely to be useful for emotional and cognitive health.
Taken from PositScience, www.brainhq.com 2015.