Research has shown that giving makes people feel good, and we know that giving from the heart, without strings attached or expecting something in return, results in the release of hormones such as oxytocin. Oxytocin also has a powerful effect on free radical and inflammation levels, which are two of the central culprits in coronary artery disease. Excess inflammation, for instance, leads to a buildup of arterial plaque that can result in a heart attack.
It’s hard to separate the metaphysics of the brain and its effect on hormones from the cognitive brain and the essence of “the soul”. Rather than attempt to separate and identify why giving “feels” good – focus on helping someone else and just enjoy the resulting glow!
Giving creates a positive feedback loop with people giving more, becoming happier and giving even more! The act of serving others and volunteering actually creates more charitable feelings, which leads to finding a true joy in giving. If the whirlwind of life or emotional burdens have you feeling less than charitable, start giving anyway. It’s good for your heart and for your soul!
How can you get started?
- Start small and start local: Volunteer at the hospital or animal shelter, offer to bring dinner in for a neighbor once a week, or participate in a charity walk. If you’re into art or music, you can always donate your work or talents to a cause close to your heart. Running races and marathons is also a good way to support local and national charities. United Way, Extra Table, Edwards Street Fellowship Center and Forrest General Healthcare Foundation, Southern Pines and Hub City Humane Society are just a few of the local places you could support. Check with local churches or schools to see what opportunities they may have available, as well.
- Partner with a friend: Joining a friend who is already involved may be more comfortable than going alone. Or ask a friend to join you as you start a new service adventure!
- Follow your heart: Choose something that matters to you!
Source: Relevate Health