Doing Good is Good for You


Two lions walking together
By Haplochromis (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

What is the good result of an act of kindness? Robin Basselin and Ryan Geertsma look at the good results for the kind person!

Transcript


Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Robin Basselin.

Voice 2 

And I’m Ryan Geertsma.  Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

The lion roars in pain. This wild animal has stepped on a small, sharp thorn. He is hurt, but he cannot remove the thorn himself. He searches for someone to help. Finally, he sees a boy watching over sheep. The lion says to the shepherd, “Do not be afraid. Please, help me.” The boy can see pain in the lion’s eyes. He pulls out the thorn.

Voice 2 

Years later, a king arrests the shepherd for a crime he did not do. The king declares that the shepherd will be killed. The king releases a lion to kill the shepherd. But suddenly, the lion stops. He walks slowly towards the shepherd. The lion puts his foot gently on the shepherd. This is the same lion the boy helped years before. The king is amazed by their story. And he releases both the boy and the lion.

Voice 1 

This ancient story was written by the Greek writer Aseop. The story shows how the shepherd’s life was saved because of his past kindness. Today’s Spotlight is on how modern science is supporting this old idea - that doing good is good for you.

Voice 2 

People have long understood that kindness is good for the person receiving help. For example, when a person gives food to a hungry person, the hungry person is blessed. His stomach is no longer empty and he has received a good gift. However, scientists have recently begun to study the effect acts of kindness have on the person doing them. What they have found is that doing good is, in fact, good for the doer. Acts of kindness can improve health, help a person reach goals and even add years to a person’s life.

Voice 1 

Many scientific studies have shown the connection between doing good and long life. The first study to show this connection was a study on aging. Beginning in 1956, scientists studied a group of married mothers for 30 years. They thought the women with the most children would die first. But what they found surprised them. The number of children a woman had did not matter. Wealth did not matter. Education did not matter. Class did not matter. What did matter was if they volunteered - if they gave their time to help other people. Women that volunteered had fewer major diseases during their life. This helped them live much longer than the women who did not volunteer.

Voice 2 

Since that first study, many other studies have found the same positive effects. Helping other people improves long-term health. It works even better than exercising four times a week.

Voice 1 

The gains are the same for men, women, old people and young. In fact, many different studies have been done with older adults over the age of 65. Each time, the study showed the same results. Those people who volunteered had fewer major sicknesses than those who did not volunteer. This included sicknesses like heart attack, cancer or stroke. One study, done in 1995, had a surprising result. It found that volunteering often reduced an older adult’s chance of dying by 44%.

Voice 2 

But why would this be? Scientist are researching many possible causes. They want to answer this question.

Voice 1 

One possible cause is an increase in antibodies. Antibodies are made by the body to fight against disease. One study showed a strong link between showing kindness to other people and an increase in antibodies. The body produces more antibodies after an act of kindness. This increase in antibodies can last nearly an hour after the act of kindness is finished. Scientists think these antibodies might have an effect on long term health. However, antibodies are not the only possible cause.

Voice 2 

Another possible cause is an increase in a chemical that fights the effects of stress or pressure from life. Normally, the body produces chemicals when stressed. Over time, these stress chemicals can lead to many diseases, such as high blood pressure and heart disease. But scientists have found a link between being kind to people and an increase in the chemical oxytocin. Oxytocin is a chemical produced in the brain. It reduces many of the harmful chemicals the body produces under stress.

Voice 1 

There is another positive change in the body that scientists have found in many studies. Doing kind acts also releases endorphins in a person’s brain. Endorphins are the body’s natural drug. They reduce pain and produce pleasant emotions. Negative emotions can lead to poor health. When a person feels good more often, they are likely to have better health.

Voice 2 

Health and long life are just two positive effects of doing good. Researchers believe that doing kind acts can also help people perform better in life.

Voice 1 

In 2010, three studies were done by Harvard University scientist, Kurt Gray. The studies tested to see if kindness had any effect on physical strength. They found that it did. People were stronger while they helped other people. They worked harder, too. In a study report, Gray said,

Voice 3 

“Doing good gives people the strength to act more effectively and better achieve their goals.”

Voice 2 

Science is still discovering positive effects from acts of kindness. This idea is new to the world of science, but not to the world of faith. For thousands of years, religions have encouraged people to love and care for those around them.

Voice 1 

In the Christian faith, God promises to bless the people who care for other people in need. Proverbs is a list of wise sayings in the Christian Bible. One of these sayings is, “The person who blesses other people is richly blessed; those people who help other people are helped themselves.”

Voice 2 

For now, researchers are still working to understand the science of doing good. But there is one thing they do know from all of the evidence. Doing good things for other people is good for you, too.

Voice 1 

Why do you do good things for other people? Do you feel better when you are kind? Do you think it helps your health? How does your religion affect how you treat others? You can email your thoughts to radio@radioenglish.net.

Voice 2 

The writer of this program was Ann Wilds. The producer was Mark Drenth. The voices were from the United States. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. You can find our programs on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, “Doing Good is Good for You.”

Voice 1 

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program.  Goodbye!

Question:

Do you do good things for other people? How does doing good things for other people affect how you feel?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Chauminh2007
said on July 03, 2011

Doing Good is Good for You

Avatar Spotlight
Rain Bows
said on July 12, 2012

Karma!
Help others have a nice life and you will earn a nice life.
Nice article.
Thanks,

Greetings from Manta-Ecuador.

Avatar Spotlight
kenhieuloilam
said on July 12, 2012

We want to find ourselves in good things. We try much to do good things. We are all not perfect persons. We need helps of everyone. We get supports of our families, communities and everyone. We try much to get better. We try much to keep away from not good things. We try much to reach perfection. We wish good things. We wish to bring good things to everyone. We love good things. Good things exist.

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Doi hai linh
said on July 12, 2012

i am really surprised at the result. But i think it is true. Doing good make you better. And afer dong good, you feel satisfied with yourself.

humble71's avatar
humble71
said on July 13, 2012

You Mark and Ann are giving a gift with this program , you do good creating this subject for today and you receive good results. You are practicing kindness with people all over the world who want to learn and practice english .  I feel good when I can help especially disabled people. Well , I am agree it helps our health because it makes us less egotistical and proud.

It’s a nice propgram , congratulations Spotlight friends.

Good bye,

Augusto Lenin

Quito, Ecuador

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Pauli Aguilar
said on May 07, 2013

I like this program, It has interesting subjects. I am improving my english. thanks spotlight for your help.
hugs and kisses
see you soon
Pauli
Quito -Ecuador

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Nhoangtrang
said on June 01, 2015

Thank the author for this great topic. I have a lot of feelings and image my recent trouble after listening to this topic.
I completely agree that doing good is good for you. There are some reasons why I think so.
First, no one can make sure what her/his future is although he or she is rich. Therefore,she or he should help another people without any condition in her or his ability. Besides that, doing good thing makes our mind peaceful,warm in my heart.

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Dela
said on June 03, 2015

Surely, when we show kindness helping poor or disabled people this doing influences our mind, soul and we can feel pleasure and happiness. We should perform more and more good things for other people because it is God’s desire just as our duty as well! However, scientists’ discoveries how acts of kindness affect people’s health are surprising, unbelievable.
Thanks for excellent article!

Avatar Spotlight
jmaia
said on June 06, 2015

Many times I do good things for other people, and sometimes for some association.
when I contribute with something for help anyone, I feel better.

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Trung Tran 2008
said on June 10, 2015

Thanks for this program!

I’ll do good more and more.

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kin chong
said on July 01, 2015

That is a way of education,which teaches people to live for the public around them.

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Buddhist88
said on December 05, 2015

Energy can be neither created nor be destroyed, but it transforms from one form to another. When you do a good thing, somehow that good thing will come back with you.

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Aziz Love
said on February 04, 2017

Because I knew before the affect of kindness , and it is source of happy

then I work hard to help people , I devote myself to aid another person till now .

Do you feel better when you are kind?

Sure ,,

How does your religion affect how you treat others?

My religion calls clearly to treat people wih kindness and compassion ,

And The Prophet Muhammad is the greatest people in good manners and dealing ,

and who is reading a biography of his will know that ,

 

Avatar Spotlight
Aziz Love
said on February 04, 2017

Why do you do good things for other people?

Because I knew before the affect of kindness , and it is source of happy

then I work hard to help people , I devote myself to aid another person till now .

Do you feel better when you are kind?

Sure ,,

How does your religion affect how you treat others?

My religion calls clearly to treat people wih kindness and compassion ,

And The Prophet Muhammad is the greatest people in good manners and dealing ,

and who is reading a biography of his will know that ,

Avatar Spotlight
huyquoc
said on February 23, 2017

after this story, i will help more and more people i can.
thanks spotlight !