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I think I may have written about this book in a previous column, but it’s worth talking about again. The book called “Why Good Things Happen To Good People” by Jill Neimark and Dr. Stephen Post.  Neimark is a science journalist, novelist and poet.  Post is a bioethicist.  They wrote the book together because they believe that giving is a way for you to stay healthy!  Post and Neimark claim that giving protects your physical and mental well-being.  Their theory is that, while you can’t change the things that happen to you or the unkindness of others, you can create your own happiness and take care of your own health through acts of generosity.  What a concept! 

The authors claim that by simply becoming more generous, you can have a longer, happier and healthier life. Scientific research is showing that when we give of ourselves, everything in our lives change for the better.  Life satisfaction and physical health is significantly affected by one’s own generosity.  Also, you are less likely to suffer from depression.  It appears that mortality is delayed and there is an increase in well-being and good fortune. This is especially true if generosity is practiced at a young age. 

I find it interesting that there is now actually a science of love and giving.  In their book, Neimark and Post offer real-life stories to show how giving to others leads to health, happiness and a longer life.  Their incredible research includes a fifty-year study which shows that people who were generous and giving during their high school years have better physical and mental health throughout their entire lives.  Other studies back this up, showing that people who give live longer than those who don’t.  There is an undeniable connection between generosity and good health.  This research should provide us all with the inspiration to be generous.

Together, the authors interviewed dozens of people who had suffered unimaginable fates including paraplegics, Holocaust survivors, and people who had had horrific childhoods. Those survivors who found a way to help others overcame their hardships, and lived happier, more fulfilling lives than survivors who were not as generous. After interviewing people who had rebuilt their own lives by giving to others, Neimark and Post are more convinced than ever that we can make our own happiness and the best way to do so is by being generous to others. Being happy by giving to others, even if life has dealt you a difficult blow, is now a researched, scientific fact. You receive so much in return just by being kind and generous to others.

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