Keeping fit is about more than just physical exercise. Your mental health is just as important because it can often spill over and affect your physical wellbeing if it’s not properly looked after.
There are lots of ways to keep your mental health strong and in good shape, including communicating with people, keeping your brain stimulated and undertaking regular academic and physical exercises.
Another activity that is excellent for your mental health is giving to charity. Here are three ways being generous can positively affect your overall health:
Health Benefits of Giving to Charity
1. Lower Stress Levels
Stress is something that hugely impacts all aspects of your life and can have a profoundly negative impact on your health. According to studies, donating to charity can reduce your stress levels considerably, and lower stress levels mean plenty of health rewards.
If you have less stress, your blood pressure can reduce which means you’re less likely to suffer from things such as strokes, heart failure, and vascular dementia. Low-stress levels also make you less susceptible to anxiety, depression, skin issues, and heart problems.
2. Increase Happiness
Nothing quite gives you the feel-good factor like helping someone else – literally. When you make a charitable contribution, your brain releases higher levels of endorphins and dopamine. If you regularly activate the reward center in your brain by giving to charity, you will naturally release more positive hormones, and eventually, you will begin to feel happier as a whole. This can help prevent a low mood and therefore make you less likely to feel depressed. We know that depression comes with lots of unpleasant physical and mental side-effects, so anything to reduce the likelihood of it is very welcome.
3. Longer Life Expectancy
When you take into account the fact that giving to charity lowers your stress levels and increases your overall happiness, it’s no wonder the end result is a longer life expectancy. If you look after other people, you’re more likely to look after yourself and lead a healthier lifestyle. This in itself lowers your risk of a whole host of diseases that could potentially shorten your life, thus meaning you could live longer.
Although there are lots of benefits to giving to charity, it’s important to remember that you won’t feel these benefits if you only donate once in your life. You have to donate and demonstrate acts of selflessness frequently in order to reap the rewards.
Religion and Charity
For some people, donating to charity is part of their religion which means they do it frequently and so experience all the benefits listed above. Muslims often donate to charity, and if they earn enough to exceed a certain threshold, they pay an annual Zakat payment which helps those who require it. Meanwhile, Christians often host collections at their religious services which are used for community projects whilst simultaneously running events such as food drives. Religious views mean some of these groups are more likely to feel happier and more satisfied in life.
Most Beneficial Time to Donate to Charity
It’s important to remember that all charities require floating throughout the year, and the main aim of donating should always be to help those in need and not yourself. Some may choose to sponsor an orphan, while others may simply wish to give what they can to help a family struggling to get by. That being said, there are common times of the year when people feel compelled to give, and people might be asking themselves: “Will I get more health benefits if I donate when other people typically don’t, such as in summer instead of Easter?” or “Can we give zakat before Ramadan and receive the same health rewards?”.
People may ask these questions because they’re giving off their own back and not because of pressure from those around them to do so at certain times of the year, therefore showing signs of continuous selflessness and not selective or seasonal selflessness. As we know, selfless people live longer.
The answer is no, there aren’t any particular times of the year to donate to charity that offer more health benefits than others, but depending on your religious beliefs, there might be reasons why one time of the year is more favourable than another.
The more frequently you’re able to give, the more beneficial it will be to the community and to yourself.
In conclusion, if you’re looking of ways to improve your mental health and, as a consequence, your physical health, donating to charity is a good place to start.
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