Researcher Stephen Post has told CBC’s Tapestry program about studies showing the psychological and physical effects of being kind.
Post, a professor of medicine at Stony Brook University in New York, has written about the “helper’s high” and his research looks at the effects of being helpful and volunteering on things like pain management and addiction treatment.
Among the upsides of being kind is a study which found that volunteering led to lower cholesterol and inflammation in high-school students and further studies found that it significantly reduced hypertension in older adults.
Post says several studies of older adults show that those that volunteer even live one or two years longer than their non-volunteering counterparts. “If you could put this in a bottle and market it, you’d be a billionaire overnight. But the thing is, it’s right within us,” he says.
A foundation of Taoist Tai Chi® arts is volunteering so participants don’t need it put in a bottle and can already realise the benefits of helping others.