In networking, we are fond of saying that “givers get”. Translated, we are saying that individuals who give to others in their network (in the form of referrals, information, contacts, and support) actually receive those same things in abundance from their network. Researchers, however, have determined that the benefits of being a giver go beyond what we get from our network.
According to a release by the University of Michigan (U-M News & Information Services, November 12, 2002), Stephanie Brown, a psychologist at the U-M Institute for Social Research, has authored a study, to be published in Psychological Science, that finds that older people who are helpful to others reduce their risk of dying by nearly 60 percent. “Making a contribution to the lives of other people may help to extend our own lives,” said Brown, as compared to peers who provide neither practical help nor emotional support to relatives, neighbors, or friends.
In the same study, Brown determined that what we get from our network has no impact on our morality. Thus, it is not what we get from relationships that makes our interaction with others so beneficial – it is what we give. Through the U-M Institute for Social Research, Brown interviewed and monitored the lives of 423 older couples over a five-year period. In her analysis of the link between giving and receiving help and mortality, Brown found that people who reported (through extensive interviews) providing no help to others as being more than twice as likely to die as people who gave some help to others. In short, it truly is better to give than to receive.
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