Less stress and a longer life
The benefits of giving extend across all ages, and according to research, may extend your life, too.
One study by the University of California, Berkeley determined that people 55 and older who volunteered for two or more organizations were 44 percent less likely to die over a five-year period, compared to those who did not report any volunteering efforts. In another study by the University of Michigan, the same pattern emerged amongst elderly participants who gave help to friends, spouses, and other loved ones.
A more direct cause-and-effect relationship lies with giving and its connection to stress reduction. Some research shows that giving can decrease the risk of mortality associated with stress--which is linked to a number of chronic, life-threatening diseases.
In fact, a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that “stress did not predict mortality for participants who had helped others within the previous year.” However, when comparing the study’s 846 adult participants, “...the link between stress and mortality was apparent in people who didn’t lend a helping hand, even after adjusting for age, health and other variables.”