Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Secret to a Longer Life

What is the secret to a longer life? Is it supporting your health with 4Life products? While that's definitely a great idea, in the November 30, 2010 issue of USA Today, journalist and lecturer Gail Sheehy wrote that selfless caregivers might experience greater longevity. Stephanie Brown, associate professor of preventive medicine at SUNY-Stonybrook, followed a group of older adults caring for family members with dementia and other conditions. If they offered care for more than 14 hours a week, they were less likely to die in a seven-year period than their peers. This study makes one wonder if "survival of the kindest" is perhaps even more important than "survival of the fittest."

In an interview with Berkeley Psychology professor Dacher Keltner, Sheehy learned that caring for people is just as much a part of science as "fight or flight." Berkeley and Stanford Universities even have compassion centers devoted to the study and teaching of this theory. Sheehy also noted in her article that the 40 richest Americans who took the Giving Pledge—to commit the majority of their wealth to charity—are either middle-aged or elderly themselves. Sheehy's interpretation? Nice guys don't finish last—they die last!

Those of us who love to serve others recognize that doing good is in and of itself the greatest reward, but isn't it nice to know that it also comes with great side-effects? Since this is the season for giving, it's heartwarming to know that giving of ourselves is good for others and us. Now we have even more proof that the 4Life pillars of science, success, and service help us to build other people... and ourselves, too!

Sheehy, Gail. "The secret to longer life could be selflessness, scientists say." USA Today. 30 Nov 2010.