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Want to Be Healthy? Eat Right, Exercise—and Be Generous

Last week an article called "Why Doing Good is Good for the Do-Gooder" appeared in the Health section of the New York Times.

The Health section? Most articles about doing good talk about how it gives people a remarkable feeling of purpose and fulfillment. But this one went a lot further, citing new findings that it causes healthy changes such as lower blood pressure, diminished stress hormones and, ultimately, reduced mortality.

That’s right—being a more giving person can make you live longer. 

Scientists believe that these effects come from the need for people to connect with others and feel part of a bigger community. Eons of evolution, they say, have woven it into our DNA.

So at our deepest level, the need to come to the aid of others is bonded to who we are.

Maybe that helps to explain some of the pride we’ve been feeling for our employees. This year, nearly a quarter of them gave at least $1,000 to the United Way. Mind you, these are people at all wage levels in the company. Some even cooked up an idea called Souper Bowl to sell soup to their co-workers and raise what turned out to be thousands of dollars for a local food pantry.

And they had the inspiration to do it in the depths of a Rochester winter, which kind of warms our heart.

So as the days grow chilly and we enter this season of giving, let’s think about turning up the heat on our own giving. Whether it’s time, expertise or money, let’s find ways to share more of our resources with those in need.

And we shouldn’t think about this as just holiday charity—giving is a wonderful thing to do year ‘round.

After all, our health depends on it.