A Giving Spirit Comes with Free Health Benefits

A study at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research tracked the relationships of 423 elderly couples for five years, during which time 134 of them died.  Those who had giving relationships (helped friends, did child care, assisted in errands) had half the mortality rate of those who didn’t.  It’s interesting that the benefits don’t accrue to those at the receiving end of the relationship, only the giving end.  We need to give in order to meet one another’s needs, and this need in us is so basic that “lack of religious involvement has an effect on mortality equivalent to forty years of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.”

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