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The health benefits of giving, joining in and having a plan

Helping others, joining in and having some kind of life plan or at least goals, aspirations and ambitions seem to make for enhanced mental health. Certainly, it’s a better strategy than popping supplements and introspection. There is even some scientific evidence that spending money on others, rather than yourself, makes you happier, as does laughter, singing, socialising, taking part, all apparently good for the immune system in ways we are only starting to understand. There is even growing evidence that making plans somehow keeps the mind and body healthy.

How far such notions go is a matter for further research. For instance, it is probably stretching it to say that being active and having a positive outlook can ward off cancer, Alzheimer’s or other diseases. However, it might be that the immune boost one gets from being mentally and physically active and engaging with other people offers protection that is simply not available through popping pills or navel gazing…

Indeed, writing in 2010, Alzheimer’s researcher Patricia Boyle demonstrated that: “Greater purpose in life is associated with a reduced risk of AD and MCI in community-dwelling older persons.” Reference. Meanwhile, here’s how to buy happiness.

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