you’re “hurting” too.
Money is tight. Time is tight. Your blood vessels are tight – resulting in a blood pressure reading in the stratosphere.
Volunteering might be just the thing you need, to loosen things up, including those “tight” blood vessels. Volunteering won’t just loosen things up metaphorically speaking, volunteering quite literally can take the edge off, improving your blood pressure etc.
Getting into the giving mood
Researchers from the University of British Columbia have documented how the simple act of “giving a little”, is able to cut some metabolic slack.
The researchers recruited their volunteers, 106 in total from an inner city high school. At the start of the study – the healthfulness of the 10th grade volunteers was assessed, using standard blood tests and psychological profiling. Only “healthy” students i.e. those whose blood pressure etc. and thinking patterns were “normal”, were included in the study.
The 106 volunteers were then divided into two groups. The experimental group were required to spend 1 hour a week, being “NICE” to little kids in an after-school programme. The other group continued their usual teenage lives – which lets be real, is a relatively self absorbed lifestyle.
Giving a little creates slack
All study participants were once more assessed for “healthfulness”. And lo and behold – the volunteers helping out at the after care centre, were MORE HEALTHY.
We’re not just talking warm fuzzy feelings such as improved self esteem etc. The MORE HEALTHY extended beyond better head health, we’re talking better body chemistry.
The markers of inflammation, interleukin-6, C-reactive protein (CRP) and cholesterol were all down. Remember, inflammation is the underlying problem in many lifestyle health problems, including those associated with tight blood vessels i.e. heart disease.
In addition to clear signs of lowered inflammation, the teens who had run after the little kids once a week, were also a little skinnier. BMI (body mass index) was marginally lower.
Running around after others
The better body chemistry seen in the giving gang, could simply be a reflection of the fact that little kids, are movers and shakers. And helping out would have required volunteers to get up off the couch.
But the team think it probably relates to better thinking.
It seems the volunteers who showed the biggest improvements in body chemistry, were those who embraced the philosophy of giving. Being completely self-absorbed, leads to more negative moods, and negative moods contribute to bad body chemistry.
Give a little it’s good for you
So if your life feels TIGHT. You feel stretched from every side, do something counter-intuitive – give a little of yourself.
Your act of GIVING will be WIN-WIN.
The recipient of your giving will WIN, and so will you.
PS. The giving principle works if you sixteen, sixty or a hundred and six. And you’re never too young to start thinking about creating BETTER BODY CHEMISTRY.
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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below