There are many reasons that people choose to give to charities or to donate their time to causes that resonate with them. Most people can agree that volunteering and supporting charities can create a better, stronger, community. What many may not realize, however, is that it’s also good for your brain.
In a study conducted by Neuroscientist Jorge Moll and his colleagues at the National Institutes of Health, researchers found that when people participate in acts of giving, it actually activates pleasure regions in the brain and can actually induce a feeling of warmth, as well as a social connection. Much like physical activity can release endorphins; the simple act of giving can have a similar effect. Giving can also release the hormone oxytocin, which can induce feelings of warmth and euphoria. Additionally, the positive effects of giving can last for several hours after the act has been completed (Crunchbase). Researchers have also found that the act of giving releases stress and lowers blood pressure, both of which have substantial impacts on an individual’s overall health.
A skilled neuroscientist, Jorge Moll currently holds the position of Director at the D’Or Institute for Research and Education. His research on this subject, along with other experts in this field, has led to a greater understanding of how the brain reacts whenever someone engages in this altruistic behavior. Giving can also be contagious. It’s not at all uncommon for individuals to be inspired to give back when they hear stories of others doing just that.
We now know that the mere act of giving can light up certain areas of the brain, help to build an individual’s social connections, and even create stronger communities. If you’ve been thinking of giving back to your community, donating to a charity, or volunteering your time, you know have even more reason to do just that.
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