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14. Why Giving to others is good for your health

In this episode, we dive into the topic of giving to others without expecting anything in return. The overwhelming evidence suggests that giving has multiple health benefits. It makes you happy, improves your physical and mental health, improves social connections, benefits the workplace and best of all, it’s contagious!

Whether you choose to give money, time, knowledge or simply make a cup of tea for someone, the benefits are real and measurable. In this festive period we hope that in your own way, whilst keeping safe you can spread some Christmas joy.

Join us on the podcast to find out more!

If you have any suggestions or would like to share your personal story, please do get in touch. This podcast is not a substitute for medical advice from your healthcare professional.

Remember be kind to yourself and small sustainable steps create great change.


It’s been a difficult year and some of us have inadvertently found it a lot harder. If you are struggling, please do know that help is out there.

Shout is the UK's first 24/7 text service - free on all major mobile networks any time, anywhere. text: 85258

Samaritans - provide confidential, non-judgemental emotional support. You can phone, email, write a letter or talk to someone. Telephone: 116 123 (24 hours a day, free to call)

The NHS website has a comprehensive list of organisations you can turn to.

If you’re not based in the UK, please seek local help. You can see your doctor, look for national helplines or organisations or simply call a friend. You are not alone.

Listen to the audio version by clicking below:



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William MB et al. Altruism relates to health in an ethnically diverse sample of older adults. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2005 May;60(3):P143-52.

Okun MA et al. Volunteering by older adults and risk of mortality: a meta-analysis. Psychol Aging. 2013 Jun;28(2):564-77.

Whillans AV et al. Is spending money on others good for your heart? Health Psychology, 2016. 35(6), 574-583.

Sneed RS & Cohen S. A prospective study of volunteerism and hypertension risk in older adults. Psychology and Aging, 2013 28(2), 578–586.

Schreier HM et al. Effect of volunteering on risk factors for cardiovascular disease in adolescents: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA Pediatr. 2013 Apr;167(4):327-32.

Wang Y et al. Altruistic behaviors relieve physical pain. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020;117(2):950-958.

Hansen T et al, Dynamics of Volunteering and Life Satisfaction in Midlife and Old Age: Findings from 12 European Countries. Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(5), 78

Poulin MJ et al. Giving to Others and the Association Between Stress and Mortality. American Journal of Public Health. 2013. 103, 1649-1655.

Fowler JH & Christakis NA. Cooperative behavior cascades in human social networks. PNAS. March 23, 2010 107 (12) 5334-5338;

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