Generosity Cheers Mind, Body and Spirit

Altruistic Acts Activate Happiness Neurons in the Brain




zhuk _ ladybug/Shutterstock.com

A Swiss study gave volunteers $25 a week for four weeks, and told half of them to spend the money on themselves and the others to spend it to benefit others. Subsequent brain scans revealed a link between the altruistic acts and feelings of contentment, activating neurons in the ventral striatum associated with happiness. Even the intention alone to be more generous was enough to create these changes, and the amount spent did not influence the increase in levels of well-being. The discovery sheds fresh light on why many people feel gratified when giving, even when it costs them something.


This article appears in the January 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Healing Our Kids

An estimated quarter to half of American children have a diagnosed chronic condition such as autism or allergies, but an integrative approach to healing can have profound effects.

Farewell to a Beloved Pet

Innovative options now exist that honor a pet’s remains in an earth-friendly, biodegradable fashion using alkaline water, seeded pods or a manmade ocean reef.

Natural Vitamin E Lowers Heart Risks

Tocotrienols, a natural form of vitamin E found in wheat, barley, corn, rice and palm fruit, has been shown to lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure in seniors.

Music Reduces Need for Post-Surgery Opioids

After surgery, 86 percent of patients engaged in music therapy eschewed opioids and other painkillers, compared to 26 percent in a control group.

Knitting Releases the Blues

Knitting can lower depression, slow the heart rate, reduce the likelihood of dementia and distract from chronic pain, research shows.

Add your comment: