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Helping Others Can Lower Your Stress, Says Science

Update Date: Dec 16, 2015 12:01 PM EST

Lend a helping hand. Not just for the sake of others, but for your own self.

Scientists find that if you help others, you can lower your stress levels, according to a news release.

"Our research shows that when we help others we can also help ourselves," study author Emily Ansell, assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, said. "Stressful days usually lead us to have a worse mood and poorer mental health, but our findings suggest that if we do small things for others, such as holding a door open for someone, we won't feel as poorly on stressful days."

An interesting research was conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles and the Yale University School of Medicine. They recruited 77 adults between 18 and 44 years. Every night over a fortnight, participants got an automated phone reminder asking them to record any stressful experiences. In a daily survey, they rated their mental health everyday on a scale of 0 (poor) to 10 (excellent.)

The study found that those who helped others did not suffer any dips in positive emotion or mental health and did not get upset in stressful situations.

However, those who performed less helpful activities reported greater negative emotions and stress.

More research is needed, the participants were all Caucasian, so the link is not completely determined.

The findings are published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

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