This is the secret to happiness, according to Harvard scientists
It's easier than you might think. (Getty Images)
Everyone wants to know the secret of happiness. Is it balance? Family? A successful career? These are ways that we have probably all been thinking about at one point or another.
Thanks to Harvard University, we could be one step closer to answering this important question.
The answer? Volunteering to help others.
It's really that simple, at least that's what Eric S. Kim, Ph.D. and his research team have found.
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People over 50 who volunteer regularly to help others are reported to be more comfortable than those who do not.
It's not just about our wellbeing. It has been scientifically proven that supporting others improves a variety of health problems.
This is associated with a lower risk of death and less likelihood of developing complicated health problems. Helping others is also a catalyst for other lifestyle improvements, such as: B. an increase in exercise and general physical activity.
But how much volunteering is actually required to reap these significant rewards? The experts say only two hours a week.
That is 100 hours a year.
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“Humans are social beings by nature. Maybe that's why our minds and bodies are rewarded when we give something to others, ”explains Dr. Kim.
“Our results show that volunteering among older adults not only strengthens communities, but enriches our own lives by strengthening our bonds with others, helping us to develop a sense of well-being and feeling lonely, depressed and protect health. and hopelessness.
"Regular altruistic activities reduce our risk of death, although our study did not show a direct impact on a variety of chronic diseases."
We have seen studies of the health benefits of volunteering in the past, but this is the first to prove conclusively that it is beneficial for companies to develop volunteer wellness programs for employees.
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Research is also conclusive enough to suggest that therapists and general practitioners could add this to their list of suggestions to help patients who lack orientation or positivity.
The study analyzed data from 13,000 adults and conducted various surveys and interviews to get a comprehensive overview of the topic.
The researchers then examined the impact of volunteering on each person and examined 34 different physical and emotional cues.
Volunteering also has no added benefit in certain areas, as volunteer opportunities remain open depending on where their interests lie.
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The research was done before the coronavirus pandemic, making volunteering in the current environment a slightly more difficult perspective.
Dr. Kim says there are ways to be careful, however.
“Now could be a special moment in history when society most urgently needs your service. If you are able to comply with health guidelines, you can not only help to heal and repair the world, but you can also help yourself.
“When the COVID 19 crisis has finally subsided, we have the opportunity to create strategies and civic structures that enable more donations in society. Some cities were pioneers of this idea before the pandemic and quarantine, and I hope we have the willingness and determination to do the same in a post-COVID 19 society. "
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