It feels good to be a Good Samaritan, of course. But there’s more to the story—because science reveals that being of service to others brings numerous health benefits. Maria E. Pagano, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, has investigated the helper therapy principle (HTP), which is based on the concept that when people help others, they are also helping themselves—particularly when the helper and the recipient of that help share a common malady. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly published her recent review article on the topic. Among the evidence cited were studies showing that…
While service to fellow sufferers is a cornerstone of 12-step programs of recovery, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Dr. Pagano noted that it is not necessary to share a common health problem in order to benefit from doing good. For instance, helping others in general has been linked with longer life, less depression, higher self-esteem and greater life satisfaction.
Bottom line: For a “helper’s high” and a significant health boost, lend a helping hand to someone in need.