Healthy "U" May/June Newsletter
Ways Giving is Good For You
by Nancy Gillece '81, Vice President, Institutional Advancement
Did you know that volunteering, supporting a non-profit or engaging in a random act of kindness is good for your health? While "doing good" may bring a smile to your face, there are also long-term benefits to your physical health.
According to recent studies, volunteering can actually add years to your life. Elizabeth Lightfoot, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University Of Minnesota School Of Social Work, found that any type or amount of volunteer work had an impact on longevity. So your good deed can add years to your life. Even high school students saw a drop in their cholesterol levels after volunteering with young children once a week for two months.
When volunteering or helping others, the brain produces a mood-elevating neurotransmitter, dopamine, providing a "helper's high". The more you do, the better you feel. According to the research, as you do nice things, people will respond positively and you will feel better. Similarly, those suffering from chronic pain felt relief when they were helping others. When individuals suffering from multiple sclerosis offered emotional support to other MS sufferers by phone, the helpers were less likely to develop depression and anxiety.
Philanthropy or giving in any form is an intentional activity - researchers found that 40% of our happiness is related to intentional activities. Helping others is at the top of the list for intentional activities. This can be a simple neighborly act, making a donation to a worthy cause, running a race to support a fund-raising campaign or serving on a non-profit board. Any and all of these activities stimulates the dopamine, elevating our mood and reducing depression.
Giving back is one of the easiest ways to get in shape. The earlier we start, the better off we’ll be - for ourselves and others.
Attention Faculty and Staff:
If you are interested in being a part of a group that will meet monthly to explore contemplative and meditation practices for personal and professional growth, please contact Beth O'Malley.
Mindfulness Meditation and Relaxation
Mindfulness Meditation and Relaxation is held Monday and Thursday afternoons 12:15-12:45 pm in the Meditation and Prayer Room, Chapel basement.
Weekly Chapel Services
All are welcome, Wednesday afternoons, 12:30-12:55 pm.
Free yoga classes sponsored by Sol Yoga will return in the fall.