How Giving Back Benefits your Mental and Physical Health

Nov 04, 2021

With the holiday season quickly approaching, the items on your Christmas shopping list are likely getting longer and longer. Buying presents can be stressful and overwhelming, but studies show that giving to others can benefit your physical and mental health.

If presents aren't your thing or you want to chase the helper's high on a budget, volunteering and giving back to those in need can elicit the same feelings. 

New studies show the benefits of giving—not just for the recipients but also for the givers' health and happiness and the strength of entire communities.

Giving activates the parts of the brain related to pleasure, trust, and relationships with others and releases important feel-good chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin.

The benefits of giving back to others and your local community are endless. Read along to find out how it can strengthen your health.

1. It may lower your blood pressure

Along with feeling an immediate surge in happiness, giving back to others can also improve your health in the long run. Feeling stressed or anxious? Helping others can help decrease stress and lower blood pressure. 

So much as a random act of kindness to a friend or stranger can have you feeling elated.

In a study from Carnegie Mellon University, adults over age 50 who volunteered regularly were less likely to develop high blood pressure than non-volunteers. 

In addition to its stress alleviating powers, if you participate in an initiative that involves movement, you can lower your blood pressure by increasing your physical activity.

Looking to give back and move your body at the same time? EQ Minds is hosting a hike to raise funds for Perinatal Mental Health. Find out more here.

2. It builds gratitude

Giving back can give you a renewed sense of gratitude. For example, when you give your own time or money and see others benefitting from your actions, it instils a feeling of appreciation for your efforts. 

Suppose you've ever put a lot of effort into finding the perfect present for a friend, family member or partner. In that case, you will understand the feeling of gratitude that accompanies them enjoying the present.

The individuals benefitting from your actions also experience a higher sense of gratitude, positively impacting you. In addition, research shows that higher levels of gratitude improve health, happiness and help form strong social bonds. 

Know that recognising the needs of others and answering that need with donations, time, and encouragement has a far-reaching impact on others — and yourself.

3. It can boost your overall life satisfaction

Humans are inherently social creatures. Socialising is imperative to our overall health and wellbeing. The modern world has made us both more and less connected than ever. Volunteering and helping others can elicit a greater sense of satisfaction, purpose and social connection. 

Additionally, giving back can help you learn new skills, gain practical experience or experience something new, boosting self-esteem. 

Despite the many benefits giving back offers, it is essential to have a genuine desire to help out. People who feel obligated to donate their time or money are less likely to experience the benefits of giving.

Along with its physical health benefits, involving yourself in voluntary work can help build a stronger sense of self and self-confidence. Partaking in activities or donating has been proven to heighten one's self-worth and the social interaction that comes with it improves confidence.

Want to give back?

If this blog post has inspired you to make a change that matters, EQ Minds will be hosting a hike to raise funds for Gidget Foundation Australia for Perinatal Mental Health Week. 

The difference we can make? Only $1,500 can cover a family's complete care, utilising GFA's specialist perinatal team, for a year.

This year, we want to raise the funds to cover the complete care for 10 families.
All funds raised will go to Gidget Foundation Australia - an organisation very close to our hearts.

Gidget Foundation Australia exists to support the emotional wellbeing of expectant
and new parents to ensure they receive timely, appropriate and specialist care.

Find out how you can help out or donate here.