This week I read an insightful article from Berkley’s The Greater Good Science Center on the correlation between boosting your immune system and living out your life purpose for the benefit of others.
According to the article, “…happiness that comes from doing good or fulfilling your life purpose may be better for you than happiness that comes from self-gratification or pleasure seeking.” It discusses a recent study, which assessed either “eudaimonic” well-being—the kind that arises from a sense of purpose or service—or “hedonic” well-being, which we get from a good time focused on bringing us pleasure or happiness.
“Results of the study show that, while both types of happiness correlated with lower depression levels, only those people with high levels of eudaimonic happiness had a better immune response profile…. In other words, happiness derived from leading a life full of purpose and meaning seemed to protect health at the cellular level, while happiness derived from pleasure or self-gratification did not.”
“Research has shown that acting in generous ways lights up areas of the brain associated with pleasure and reward, and can lead to positive health outcomes like lower stress and better cardiovascular health. In addition, several studies have found that volunteering increases longevity in older adults, especially if that volunteerism is motivated by altruism and not personal gain.”
In Proverbs 3:8, it says that if we are trusting in God and living in His ways—then “It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.” The interesting insight is that our body’s immune system has its foundation in our bones. So this study confirms the ancient wisdom that if our lives are characterized by living in service to others, it will be good for our health as well!