How Giving to Others is Good for Your Mental Health

(Left) Karen D. Sacks, MS LCPC LMHC, Founder, Director and Collaborative Mental Health Professional at the Center for Counseling and Rational Solutions and Melissa Rivers, Television Icon, Author, Producer and this year’s Guest Speaker at the Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services (JFS) 4th Annual “Reflections of Hope” Luncheon. The Event, created in an effort to break the stigma associated with mental illness, a critical issue affecting one in four adults, benefits the Welcome Home Program and the mental health services of Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services.

When we give to help others we are also giving to ourselves. Whether we volunteer, donate money or give emotional support to someone in need; inadvertently the giver is boosting their own physical and mental health. Giving and helping others can create internal happiness that is stimulated from a connection with other people and trust, this happiness releases endorphins that are self produced from the central nervous system triggering positive feelings and pleasure. Studies published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology, find these health benefits are associated with giving: Increased self-esteem, less depression, lower stress levels, greater happiness, living longer and lower blood pressure.

Giving to help others can also be a self-rewarding distraction from personal challenges of change such as divorce, the loss of a loved one, illness, or simply wanting to meet like-minded people and connect within your community. So to help yourself, get up, get out and give a little to help others.