According to Web MD, selflessness and compassion for others seem to counteract the bad effects of stress on the human body.
Researchers at Cornell University conducted a 30-year study of married women with children. And they expected women who had several kids would be under more stress, and would die at an earlier age. But to their surprise, the number of children wasn't a factor. Neither was how much money or education the mother had. The biggest factor in a woman's life expectancy is whether or not she did volunteer work! In fact, 52 percent of the women who did not volunteer had a major illness over the course of the study. Compared to 36 percent of the women who did do volunteer work. Why? It seems people who are generous toward others have higher levels of the hormone oxytocin the stress-reducing chemical that some people call the "tend and befriend hormone". Studies also show that when people help others, it increases production of feel-good brain chemicals, like dopamine and endorphins. Which also relieve anxiety.
So what's the take away here? When you help someone else, it reduces your stress. And when you reduce your stress, it boosts the health of your immune system and cardiovascular system. So, find a place to volunteer your services and you'll be healthier and happier in no time!
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