Helping Creates Happiness and Health

Give your abundant life a hearty boost this fall—find a giving opportunity! Shelve books for the library, work the community health fair, bake cupcakes for the nursing home’s monthly birthday party.

Choose a way to give back that pleases you—and see how good doing good can make you feel. Amazing new research shows a direct link between acts of charitable giving and improved health and happiness.

Studies have shown that the caring expressed in doing good for others leads people to have healthier, happier, and even longer lives. “Giving is the most potent force on the planet,” says Dr. Stephen Post, co-author of Why Good Things Happen to Good People.

“It’s abundantly clear that people who live generous lives also live happier lives,” he says. “When you’re experiencing compassion, benevolence, and kindness, they push aside the negative emotions. One of the best ways to overcome stress is to do something to help someone else.”

What could be better than a continuous loop of giving and receiving that helps everyone? When you make a difference in people’s lives, it gives you energy and courage to forge ahead and see how much further you can go. That’s the power of charity—it returns to you far more than you can ever give. And even the smallest act of charity matters. Here are some ideas for finding your best giving opportunity:

1. Look Close to Home for Ways to Help
Charity begins at home, and there are plenty of people and places in our daily lives to engage us. Volunteers are always needed at senior centers, churches, libraries, museums, and hospitals. If you have kids in school, you know the ongoing need for more adult assistance. Many struggling students begin to thrive with a little extra help from a caring adult. And the rewards are great!

2. Let Your Passion Guide You
What issues or causes matter most to you? Education, health care, civic affairs, the arts—giving to a cause that you care deeply about gives you an opportunity to help in a way that provides great personal satisfaction. Pursuing your passionate interests engages your energy and enthusiasm—always a good feeling!

3. Look for Ways That Your Family Can Work Together
Charitable activities that the family can share are a great way to teach children the joy of giving. Charity is best taught by example and kids love working with friends and family toward a common goal.

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