Caring for others may help you live longer

Harold Mandel's picture
Caring

Researchers have found that people who care for other people live longer.

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Many people seem deeply concerned about the apparent dehumanization of the experience of life in the highly technological computerized world which mankind has created. If you want to live a healthy and long life it may very well be a good idea to look beyond this and nurture the caring side of your being.

Helping other people really pays off

Universit├Ąt Basel reports that in the long run helping other people really pays off. Researchers have observed that people who care for other people generally live longer.

It has been observed that elderly people who help and support other people have longer lives. When people who are older offer help and support for other people they are also doing a favor for themselves. It has been reported by a team of international researchers that grandparents who care for their grandchildren generally have longer lives than grandparents who do not care for their grandchildren.

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Positive effect which caregiving has on mortality was not limited to caring within the family

It was demonstrated by the researchers that the positive effect which caregiving has on mortality was not limited to help and caregiving which was given within the family. It was demonstrated that older adults who were childless who gave others emotional support also benefited with longer lives.

Caregiving seems to be most helpful when it is not too intense. In fact it has been observed that stress results from involvement which is too intense. Ralph Hertwig, the Director of the Center for Adaptive Rationality at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, says helping should not be misunderstood as being a panacea for a living a longer life.

A moderate level of involvement with caregiving appears to be associated with positive effects on health

Hertwig says that a moderate level of involvement with caregiving appears to be associated with positive effects on health. However it has been shown in past studies more intense involvement leads to stress and this has negative effects on physical and mental health.

This study has been published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior. An association has been found between decreased mortality for the caregiver and caregiving within and beyond the family. Nurturing a positive attitude about caring for others may actually pay off with a longer life.

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