The Effects of Giving to Charity on Your Health

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The Effects of Giving to Charity on Your Health

Everyone knows that when you do something good for others it has a positive impact on you. You feel good for helping someone else, which encourages us to keep on doing good for others. The question is, what actually happens to our bodies when we do something good like give to charity? How does our body respond?

Through this post, that’s exactly what we are going to investigate – the science behind why people feel good after engaging in a random act of kindness and how it benefits your health.

Pain Reduction and Immune System Improvement

Let’s start with one of the physical benefits of giving to charity. When you do something good for others, multiple different chemicals and neurotransmitters are released into your body. One of the most potent and important of these chemicals is called dopamine.

Neurotransmitters are chemicals which convey information within our brain, helping us to do everything, whether it be throwing a ball or feeling sad. Dopamine is known as the ‘bliss chemical’ because, in almost all occasions, its release leads to positive emotions and feelings of reward or happiness.

A side effect of dopamine release is pain reduction, which is also why the release of dopamine can be associated with some drugs (and can lead to addiction).

Similarly, doing good things for others can have a drastic effect on your immune system, boosting your speed of recovery drastically. When helping others and giving to charity, the dopamine release is guaranteed to have a big effect on your mood and your body, both reducing pain and improving your immune system.

Mental Health Boost

In general, doing good for others results in a boost to your mental health. This is the result of countless chemical releases (including those we will discuss in this post), as well as the reactions of those that you help.

Mental health is a complex subject with many factors that affect it, however, there have been plenty of studies into the impact of charitable giving in relation to it. In general, most research finds that showing compassion for others has strong links to reduced anxiety, depression and anger, as well as a reduction to stress levels.

This is also why those that give to charity more often are less likely to suffer from mental health issues. For example, Muslims who donate in the UK, particularly during the month of Ramadan, are prone to boosts in both mood and physical health.

This is in part due to their dedication to faith but can equally be attributed to the act of giving to charity on a regular basis, as is a tradition in the religion of Islam.

Oxytocin Production

Finally, we will look into another chemical released in more detail – Oxytocin. Oxytocin is referred to as the ‘love hormone’, primarily because it is extremely closely linked with empathy and trust. This makes it obvious why oxytocin is linked to and released whenever you give to charity.

Oxytocin has been associated with positive feelings of satisfaction and increased sociability, helping benefit all manner of people from those with autism through to anyone suffering from anxiety or depression. In fact, oxytocin has even been linked to treating irritable bowel syndrome.

Whilst oxytocin can be prescribed as a drug, it’s almost always better to have oxytocin enter your system naturally, especially considering a rapid overload of oxytocin can do more harm than good. This is just another reason why giving to charity is so effective at improving your mood and making you feel positive, even when you’re not in the best place.

Hopefully, this short post has highlighted some of the most noticeable physiological effects of giving to charity. Doing good for others has always been an effective method of improving your own mood, so consider doing a random act of kindness whenever you’re unsure or lacking self-confidence and you’ll see the difference it makes.

Editorial Team
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2 Comments

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