POINTS TO PONDER

 

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Due to scientific and clinical studies, researchers have found that doing good is very therapeutic to a person’s heart, soul, mind, and body. Mirele Mann, editor of Goodnet, asks, have you ever felt a rush after doing a good deed? Ever noticed you were more relaxed after a day of volunteering? Did you ever feel motivated to do good after thinking about the last time you helped someone? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, there’s a good explanation for why – it’s called science.

Mirele then goes on to share with us a number of things that Goodness offers as beneficial outcomes to those who practice it. One of those is this: According to a 2013 study at the University of Buffalo examining the relationship between volunteering and hypertension, giving back can have a significant impact on blood pressure.   Researchers found that adults over 50 who volunteered about four hours a week were 40 percent less likely than non-volunteers to have developed hypertension four years later. In other words, Goodness decreases stress.

Another thing researchers found is that there is a link between giving, unselfishness and a lower risk of early death. The findings show that subjects who provided tangible assistance to friends or family members (running errands, helping with child care, etc.), reported less stressful events and, consequently, had reduced mortality. In other words, “helping others reduced mortality specifically by buffering the association between stress and mortality.” Yes, it’s true. Goodness increases life-expectancy.

Not only that, but they also discovered that after performing a good deed, a person experiences a sensation known as “helper’s high” and is produced when your brain releases endorphins, the feel-good chemicals of the brain. When you do something good for someone else, your brain’s pleasure centers light up, releasing endorphins and producing this high. Not to mention, doing good has also been known to generate feelings of satisfaction and gratitude. So, there’s no doubt that Goodness makes us feel better.

Furthermore, According to a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, altruists in the office are more likely to be committed to their work and less likely to quit their jobs. The researchers also found that individuals in their mid-30s who rated helping others in their work as important reported they were happier with their life when surveyed 30 years later. Thus, it was shown that Goodness makes us happier at work.

But there’s more, the results are in! After an extensive review of 40 studies on the effect of volunteering on general health and happiness, the BioMed Central Public Health journal has concluded that volunteering is also good for mental health.   The review found that – along with improved well-being and life satisfaction – volunteering is also linked to decreased depression. Therefore, Goodness is good for the brain.

Added to this, it has been found that people who engage in acts of goodness become happier over time.  It’s that simple, according to Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside. Lyubomirsky, who has studied happiness for over 20 years, found that performing positive acts once a week led to the most happiness. The conclusion is simple, Goodness leads to being happier in life.

And finally, a 2012 study published in Psychological Science found that thinking about times you’ve helped others will make you want to help others again.  The research found that reflecting on your past good deeds makes you feel selfless and want to help more, as compared to reflecting on the times others have helped you. In other words, thinking about what you’ve given others – and not only what you’ve received – will motivate you to do good again and again. So, the more Goodness you show the more you want to be good.

But the Bible is not silent on this subject. The Psalmist exclaims: Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who revere you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind![1] Then the Apostle James announces that every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[2] And the Apostle Paul tells us that as we are given the opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.[3] Also, says Paul, be good to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.[4] No doubt that’s why King David testified that surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.[5] – Dr. Robert R Seyda

[1] Psalm 31:19

[2] James 1:17

[3] Galatians 6:10

[4] Ephesians 4:32

[5] Psalm 23:6

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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