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Generosity: It’s Good for Your Soul and Your Health!
Researchers have confirmed what many have known all along—generosity is good for you! Those who are inclined to be generous enjoy helping others because it just feels good. However, scientists have discovered that being generous has physical, mental, and spiritual benefits as well.
One medical study
found that the act of giving actually delays morbidity and prolongs life expectancy, while another
found that the more money people spent on others, the lower their blood pressure measured two years later.
In a related study, participants were told to spend money on other people for three consecutive weeks. The result? Their systolic and diastolic blood pressure was lower than participants who were told to spend money only on themselves. The researchers concluded that this result was comparable to the therapeutic effects that hypertension medication or exercise has on blood pressure.
The University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters has sponsored an initiative called the Science of Generosity. In its scholarly article,
The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose
, researchers determined that, “Generosity is paradoxical. Those who give, receive back in turn. In giving of ourselves for others’ well-being, we enhance our own well-being as well. In letting go of some of what we own, we actually increase our own security and sense of comfort. By giving away our own resources, we move ourselves toward flourishing.”
The researchers went on to say that this concept is not only a philosophical or religious teaching; it is a sociological fact. “By clinging to what we currently have, we lose out on pleasures that we might have gained. In keeping what we possess, we diminish its long-term value to us. By always protecting ourselves against future uncertainties and misfortunes, we are formed in ways that make us more anxious and actually more vulnerable to future misfortunes.”
They found that generosity, or a lack thereof, shapes personal growth, purpose, health, happiness, and well-being. The researchers concluded their findings with a powerful statement: “If we fail to care for others, we do not properly take care of ourselves.”
In addition to physical and mental benefits, people who are generous reap spiritual rewards as well. Ronald Blue Trust’s bedrock verse is 1 Timothy 6:17-19, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed” (NASB).
We must remember how temporary life—and all its possessions—really are. In Matthew 6, we find that if we try to keep our resources, “moth and rust [will] destroy [them], and … thieves [will] break in and steal [them]” (NASB).
When we let go of our resources and realize that it all belongs to God, giving can become a joyful experience. We believe that when you adopt a generous mindset, you will find richer meaning in life.
At Ronald Blue Trust, we are committed to helping you achieve clarity and confidence around your finances. If you would like to incorporate generosity and giving into your financial plan, please contact your Ronald Blue Trust advisor, call 800.987.2987, or email
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Michael J. Poulin, Stephanie L. Brown, Amanda J. Dillard, Dylan M. Smith. “Giving to Others and the Association Between Stress and Mortality.” American Journal of Public Health (AJPH). August 07, 2013. http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2012.300876
Ashley V. Whillans, Elizabeth W. Dunn, Gillian M. Sandstrom, Sally S. Dickerson, Kenneth M. Madden. “Is Spending Money on Others Good for Your Heart?” Health Psychology, by the American Psychological Association. 2016. Vol. 35, No. 6, 574–583. PDF. http://midus.wisc.edu/findings/pdfs/1526.pdf
Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson. “The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose.” Oxford Scholarship Online. September 2014. http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199394906.001.0001/acprof-9780199394906
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.
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