Did you know giving to others is likely to increase how long you will live? Whether it’s money, resources, or even a helping hand, generosity is being linked to longevity, and it’s proved to be a worthy cause.

A paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science states there is a linear relationship between the amount and frequency of “wealth transfers” or giving to others compared with the lengths of individuals’ lives.

What they found was that countries who experienced greater longevity were countries with more giving populations, and also countries with stronger social unity.

“Generous behavior is related to trust and mutual regard and a sense of being together,” said John Helliwell, professor, and co-editor of the World Happiness Report, a report released annually by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations. “People who are happier are subsequently healthier.”

France and Japan were nations with the lowest mortality risk. They also had the highest averages in individual wealth transfers. Individuals in these countries were sharing between an average of 69% of their lifetime income. Compared to countries like Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, where individuals aren’t able to give as much, had shorter life spans.

The results of the study have proven to be relevant to current times. As the world continues to push through the Coronavirus pandemic, societies with a “high mutual trust” have shown to be resilient against the virus.

“To the extent, generosity adds to longevity, it’s about our resilience to disease, or earthquakes, or changes in climate,” Helliwell said. “Leaders must broaden our capacity to help one another.”

This study has revealed a greater message in generosity fitting for the world’s climate today. If we could all come together, with the common interest of wanting to help each other, not only would it help us to live healthier, happier lives, but it would also make the world a better place for everyone.

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