Want to Care for Yourself? Serve Others

Want to Care for Yourself? Serve Others

Self care is a popular term these days. After years of #sidehustle and #grind, younger generations are finally figuring out what our parents learned a long time ago: If you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re not going to be very effective at much else. But self care is about more than healthy eating and skipping the alarm clock once a month. We’ve found that ironically, serving others is one of the best ways to take care of yourself. Let’s take a look.

According to a study by Syracuse University, people who regularly give to charity are 42% more likely to say that they were “very happy” and “in excellent health.” Psychologist Mark Snyder says, “People who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness… It also improves their health and even their longevity.” Even children who volunteer get better grades and have better attitudes toward education, according to sociologist Jane Allyn Piliavin.

So where do all these benefits come from? How does caring for others create so much care for ourselves? Neuroscientist Jorge Moll at the National Institutes of Health found that charitable giving stimulates the brain’s mesolimbic system, part of the brain’s “reward system.” It’s responsible for releasing neurotransmitters like oxytocin and vasopressin.

Big words, sure, but what are they? Simply put, they’re substances your body produces to make you feel better. You can be straight-edged as they come, but like it or not, your body cranks out drugs like Walter and Jesse. Thankfully, they’re the good kind— dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. No blue crystals here.

But like the bad kind, these neurotransmitters can even be addictive, creating an effect scientists call “the Helper’s High.” So the more you help others, the happier you feel, and the more you’ll want to help others. It’s a compounding cycle.

So not only does serving others give you the chance to improve the world you live in, you get to feel great doing it. You’ll have more energy and less stress, and you’ll even be physically healthier.

At SERV, we believe we have a calling not just to help those in our own world meet their fitness goals with quick and easy protein solutions, but also to help those worlds away, providing essential nutrition to families in developing countries through our partnership with Feed My Starving Children, a Minnesota-based nonprofit. In fact, when you buy a pack of PRODROP protein, you’re feeding a kid! Try it and let your mesolimbic system start the party! How’s that for self care?

If you give your time and/or money to help those in need, how does it make you feel? Have you ever experienced the Helper’s High?

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