Research shows that doing good is good for you

Doing good14th September 2010

Research published this month has shown that helping others can have a beneficial effect on health.

Psychologist Dr David Lewis measured the emotions and stress levels of people who spent nine days giving time and effort to charity work and to helping friends and neighbours.

Subjects showed reduced levels of those negative feelings that can lead to illness, such as stress and anger. Feelings of well-being and confidence increased.

In the 1930s Dr Bach wrote, 'Every kindly smile, every kindly thought and action, every deed done for love or sympathy or compassion of others proves that there is something greater within us than that we see.'

The remedies Bach discovered were aimed at helping people show these positive side of their characters. Overcoming negative feelings, he believed, was the most effective way to ensure long-term good health.

Since his death in 1936 researchers into psychoneuroimmunology have demonstrated the chemical links between positive emotions and physical health. This new research carried out at the University of Sussex's Mindlab offers a further demonstration of that link.

Notes

  1. This press release is also available in an Adobe Acrobat version.
  2. Research by Dr David Lewis was commissioned by the insurance company Simplyhealth.
  3. The Daily Mail's report on the research is at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1310356/Dont-worry-happy-Doing-good-deed-day-world-good.html.
  4. Bach flower remedies were discovered in the 1920s and 1930s by Dr Edward Bach, a Harley Street consultant and bacteriologist.
  5. Bach flower remedies are complementary medicines that help resolve imbalanced emotional states, which can in turn lead to improvements in general health.