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Health Tip

Better to Give than to Get!

We find in the Bible an interesting statement about giving. “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). That sounds rather old-fashioned in today’s society. Even so, I think we all have experienced the good feeling of doing something helpful for someone else, so we have experienced a bit of that blessing. But did you know that there are more blessings to be gained in the form of positive health benefits from serving others? Volunteering 200 hours or more per year is associated with a 40% decreased risk to develop high blood pressure or hypertension in older adults (1). Simply in giving time and energy to help others, we can help our hearts. However, another study found that volunteering needs to be done for the right reason. Those who volunteer live longer than those who don’t, but only when their motives for volunteering are to genuinely help others – not to make themselves feel better (2). So by genuinely giving from our “hearts”, we receive physical benefits back to our own hearts and lives. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

 

Theresa Nybo, MPH

 

(1) Sneed, R. S., & Cohen, S. (2013). A Prospective Study of Volunteerism and Hypertension Risk in Older Adults. Psychology and Aging, 28(2), 578–586. http://doi.org/10.1037/a0032718

 

(2) Konrath, S., Fuhrel-Forbis, A., Lou, A., Brown, S. (2012). Motives for volunteering are associated with mortality risk in older adults. Health Psychology, 31(1), 87-96. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0025226

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