Published on January 08, 2020

Giving Is Good for the Soul and Good for The Heart, Literally

People who donate time or money to help others will tell you it’s good for the soul. It brings them joy.

Scientists will tell you it’s also good for the heart. It brings better health.

Studies have found that being generous with time or money triggers a response in the brain that evokes joy, happiness and pleasure, creating a ‘warm glow’ effect. More research is showing that in addition to having good feelings, donors feel good, medically – even those with chronic illness. One study found that elderly people who volunteer to help others live longer.

A possible explanation: studies that show giving or volunteering help decrease blood pressure and stress, which are associated with a variety of health problems.

A psychology professor in British Columbia, Elizabeth Dunn, actually measured donors’ blood pressure before and after giving. She found it fell when people gave significantly to other people or causes but did not change when they spent money on themselves.

The donors, doctors, volunteers and other medical professionals whose stories fill this issue of Your Trust speak of the joy they feel in helping others by supporting or working on behalf of Concord Hospital and Concord Hospital Trust. Their smiles and enthusiasm spoke louder than their words.

“When people say being generous gives them joy, it’s not just a cliché,” said Pamela Puleo, Concord Hospital’s Chief Advancement Officer. “The impact on people is real – emotionally and physically.”