‘Tis more blessed (and healthier?) to give than to receive

Well, I may be five years too late in noticing this, but I have just come across a study done at the end of 2002 that demonstrates something Christ said around 2,000 years ago: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

As reported by Diane Swanbrow on November 19, 2002, a University of Michigan study found some strong support for the idea that giving selflessly to others increased one’s longevity while receiving the selfless help did not add appreciably to one’s lifespan.

From the article:

“If giving, rather than receiving, promotes longevity, then interventions that are designed to help people feel supported may need to be redesigned so the emphasis is on what people can do to help others,” [lead author, Stephanie] Brown says. “In other words, these findings suggest that it isn’t what we get from relationships that makes contact with others so beneficial; it’s what we give.”

As we have stressed for decades, there are two ways of life: the way of give and the way of get.  It looks like the former might be the healthier of the two.

Although the first sentence of the article refers to the Biblical maxim, the last paragraph attempts to introduce evolutionary pressures as a possible explanation.  (I hope the authors of the study will forgive me if I find a different interpretive framework to provide a more sensible explanation…)

Ms. Swanbrow’s 2002 article can be read here: “People who give, live longer, ISR study shows”

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