The Impact of Compassion and Altruism on Your Physical and Emotional Health
“developing compassion and altruism has a positive impact on our physical and emotional health.
In one well-known experiment, for example, David McClelland, a psychologist at Harvard University, showed a group of students a film of Mother Teresa working among Calcutta’s sick and poor. The students reported that the film stimulated feelings of compassion. Afterward, he analyzed the student’s saliva and found an increase in immunoglobulin-A, an antibody that can help fight respiratory infections.
In another study done by James House at the University of Michigan Research Center, investigators found that doing regular volunteer work, interacting with others in a warm and compassionate way, dramatically increased life expectancy, and probably overall vitality as well.”
“In addition to the beneficial effects of one’s physical health, there is evidence that compassion and caring behavior contribute to good emotional health. Studies have shown that reaching out to help other can induce a feeling of happiness, a calmer mind, and less depression.
In a thirty-year study of a group of Harvard graduates, researcher George Vaillant concluded, in fact, that adopting an altruistic lifestyle is a critical component of good mental health.”