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01/26/2017 10:57 am ET Updated Jan 26, 2017

4 Reasons Being Kind Is Good For Your Health

Give your time now, and you may get years in return.
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Credit: Jacob Ammentorp Lund/istock

Lend a Hand

When you help others, you may be helping yourself, especially as you age: A five-year study in the American Journal of Public Health found that people 65 and older who didn’t assist friends, neighbors or relatives had a 30 percent higher chance of dying after a stressful life event, like a job loss, than those who were generous. And volunteering for a good cause can give you a greater sense of purpose, which may lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke, according to an analysis of ten studies with around 136,000 subjects. Head to volunteermatch.org to find opportunities (searchable by location, interest, or age group) for everything from grant writing to cat rescue.

Love Your Friends

The depth and breadth of your connections can have an impact on blood pressure and other key numbers in ways similar to diet and exercise, according to a recent University of North Carolina study of more than 14,000 subjects.

Honor Your Feelings

A study published in Psychosomatic Medicine found that women who “self-silenced”—held in their thoughts and emotions—during marital conflicts were four times more likely to die over a ten-year period than women who let it rip.

And Say Hi to the Coffee Guy

People in one small University of British Columbia study who smiled, made eye contact or chatted with their barista reported having a more positive mood afterward.

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