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What You Get by Giving

Adventist Health Health and Wellness, Mind

Giving for healthWe've all heard of "the gift that keeps on giving." But it turns out the very act of giving can be a gift that keeps on you.

As odd as that may sound, it's true. Science is proving that giving to others benefits not just the recipient but also the giver.

The Science of Giving

Sure, most of us know how good it feels to help someone out. But it's more than just a feeling-giving actually impacts our brains.

For instance, researchers at the University of Oregon showed on an MRI how donating money hits the pleasure center of the brain just like getting money does.

Donating money is just one way to give, though. Volunteering your time can benefit your health too.

In fact, a 2013 study revealed that people over the age of 50 who volunteered their time at least 200 hours a year were less likely to get high blood pressure than those who didn't. These volunteers also reported a higher sense of mental well-being.

The benefits aren't just for older adults. The University of California, Berkeley reports that teens who help and give to others are three time happier than their peers. Youth who volunteer have lower risk of depression, suicide, substance abuse and pregnancy.

Baris Yörük, a researcher and professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York, goes so far as to point out people's health could benefit from the tax deductions they take thanks to their charitable giving.

Ways You Can Give and Volunteer

Adventist Health volunteersIf you're interested in tapping into the health benefits of giving, Adventist Health can help.

In fact, Adventist Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, depends on the generosity of the many volunteers who help around the hospital and in our clinics.

People of many ages benefit from this program. Our volunteers range in age from 16 to over 90 years old. You can start the process of becoming an Adventist Health volunteer by filling out an online application.

Those who would like to consider a direct financial donation may be interested in the work of the Adventist Health Foundation. The Foundation raises funds for Adventist Medical Center's capital, program and equipment needs in direct support of the medical center's mission.

When you realize how sharing your time, talent and money can directly help others-and even help save lives-it's no wonder science shows us that it really is even better to give than to receive.