If a spoon full of sugar can help the medicine go down, imagine what a life full of sweetness can do to supplement your alternative medicine treatment. When young, children are told that being nice will help them make friends, but beyond improving social lives a lot of people don’t think about what being nice does for them. It turns out that being kind to others can actually improve your physical and mental health, whether you are engaging in those acts directly or indirectly.
Can Money Buy Happiness? What about Healthiness?
The debate over whether money can buy happiness is a big one. Some people think once they have enough money to never work again they will be happy as they sit at home all day, but there are plenty of unhappy and lonely people who have the money to do just that. Instead of thinking of how much happiness money can buy, the real question might be in how much happiness you can spread while you spend.
In 2008 Science Magazine published a study out of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in which psychologists analyzed the correlation of income and happiness. What they found was that it wasn’t the amount of income earned that made people happy, but instead how they were able to spend that money that improved people’s moods. These researchers found that nationwide, those who spent more money on charities and gave money to other people were happier than those who only spend money on themselves.
Researchers in this study didn’t evaluate the impact that this giving had on participant’s health, but other studies have linked happiness to healthiness in several ways. The fact that being happy improves your mental health is common knowledge for most people. Being happy reduces your risk for depression and anxiety and makes you better able to handle stress.
This improved mental health in turn has a positive effect on your physical health. Stress is linked to hormone fluctuations. When a person is overly stressed they are more likely to feel fatigued, gain weight and are at a greater risk for chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Stress also impacts heart health, sleeping ability and medical weight loss efforts. A lot of people turn to alternative medicine therapies to cope with issues that develop as a result of stress. While donating to a charity isn’t going to cure you of all ailments, taking small steps like this to improve your happiness can complement your existing treatment program.