Caring can increase feelings of joy and relieve stress: States of joy and delight can result from giving to others. When you are altruistic “helping someone” your oxytocin level goes up, which helps relieve stress and create the feeling of elation. It has recently been discovered that the heart produces oxytocin, commonly referred to as the love or bonding hormone, and the concentrations of oxytocin found in the heart are as high as those found in the brain.
Caring can be contagious: Elation makes us feel great and perform good acts, according to an “elevation study” published in the journal Psychological Science. Researchers studied individuals who watched TV clips that prompted various moods and found that those who viewed uplifting clips were more likely to engage in altruistic behavior soon after.
Caring can mean better health: HeartMath research has found that caring, like other positive emotions, increases smoothness in the heart’s rhythmic pattern and improves the health of our heart, immune and hormonal systems. In a Cornell University study that followed more than 313 women for 30 years, researchers found 52 percent of women who did not engage in volunteer work experienced a major illness, compared with only 36 percent of those who volunteered in their communities.*
Caring is a big part of the U.S. Economy: Nonprofits and charities comprise about 10 percent of the U.S. workforce according to Guidestar, and pay nearly $540 billion in wages each year according the National Council of Nonprofits.