Philanthropy Isn’t Just Good, It’s Good for You

As part of our commitment to the Gold Stream Solutions principle of continual learning, we keep watch for research and articles that shed light on the human condition. Recently, a study that looked at how the pursuit of happiness changed the human body caught our eye.

Researchers compared the way that our bodies reacted to two different kinds of happiness. The first, eudemonic happiness, is the pride we feel from knowing that our lives have meaning and that our actions make a difference. The second, hedonic happiness, describes the way we feel after a fun purchase or a fancy dinner.

We’ve discussed similar studies in Gold Stream Solutions meetings before, but the unique feature of this research was the way it questioned whether different kinds of happiness had a genetic impact – and as it turns out, they do. Eudemonic happiness was linked to a better immune system along with less inflammation. The exact opposite effect was found in those who focused on hedonic happiness.

UCLA’s Steven Cole put the findings in layman’s terms, saying, “What this study tells us is that doing good and feeling good have very different effects on the human genome, even though they generate similar levels of positive emotion. Apparently, the human genome is much more sensitive to different ways of achieving happiness than are conscious minds.”

If giving back just because it’s the right thing to do isn’t motivating enough, now you know it’s good for your health as well. Join the Gold Stream Solutions conversation on business and philanthropy by liking us on Twitter.