3 specific ways that helping others benefits your brain

Supporting others socially does more than just benefit the receiver, it also helps the giver of that support on a neurobiological level, a new study suggests. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and UCLA found that social support, like being “someone to lean on” or “looking for ways to cheer people up” helps benefit the brain in three specific ways. Using fMRI brain scans, the researchers found it reduces stress-related activity, greatens reward-related activity and heightens caregiving-related activity. The study also found that giving social support is associated with increased activity in a brain area that functions as part of the reward system during an “affiliative” task. The results of the study help back emerging literature that suggests support giving is an overlooked contributor to health. So if you can, be a little more supportive of others, you’ll actually be doing yourself a favor.

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