This Valentine’s Day, give and make your heart happy.

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February 13, 2015
by Allie Mabbott

It’s a familiar lesson that my parents and most – I assume – try to teach their kids early on, but probably one that isn’t fully believed or understood until much later. It’s incredibly exciting to receive gifts and praise as a child, and I’m happy to report that the reverse behavior might be equally if not more exciting for adults – giving can actually make you happier and healthier.  

Nowadays, thanks to a number of very smart folks, that familiar lesson has been tested and proven to scientifically bear truth. Economist Baris Yoruk of the University of Albany found that giving to charity is connected to better overall health, and specifically lowers the chances of having high blood pressure, lung disease and arthritis. And Mr. Yoruk isn’t the only one spreading the good news.

If you do a simple Google search of “charitable giving health benefits” you will find dozens of hits from a variety of respected sources: the University of California Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, the National Institute of Health and the Cleveland Clinic to name a few. They are all singing the same song. Giving to people in need is good for you indeed! Our professions and incomes do not matter—neither does our age or where we live. We can all experience positive health benefits from giving.

Throughout the Feeding America network, there are 2 million volunteers who contribute more than 8.4 million hours of their time to food banks and programs each month of the year. Every day, countless individuals from across the country donate time, food and funds to help the Feeding America network serve their neighbors. Whether it’s because they want to make an impact or to simply feel good about what they do, they are making a gigantic difference in the lives of people struggling with hunger.

It does feel good to give to others in need.

So let’s remember what our parents said long ago, “It’s better to give than to receive,” because they were right. Find your local food bank for opportunities to give back, and if you have the chance this Valentine’s Day, consider making your heart healthier and happier by helping others.

Allie Mabbott is the communication manager for Feeding America.

Tags: Hunger in the News , Ways to Give

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