LIVING

Lower Blood Pressure Linked To Spending Money On Others: UBC Study

12/16/2015 09:06 EST | Updated 12/16/2015 11:59 EST

Giving gifts may have made the Grinch's heart grow three times in size in a cartoon world, but spending money on others could actually work wonders for your overall health.

That's according to a UBC study linking how charitable spending can lower blood pressure.

The study, broken into two parts, involved 128 participants aged 65 and up diagnosed with high blood pressure. The group was given three payments of $40 to spend during a six-week period. They then faced a choice: spend the money on themselves or spend it on others.

Those who were charitable with their cash showed a decrease in their systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to those who spent money on themselves. Those who did the opposite didn't suffer any negative health effects but didn't have any positive outcomes either.

“What we’ve found is some of the strongest evidence to date that spending money on others can lead to significant improvements in physical health,” Ashley Whillans, one of the authors of the study, told Global News.

And researchers suggest there's a long-term benefit to spending your earnings on others, too.

"It suggests to us that helping others might help us not be so physically affected by the stress that happens in our everyday lives."

The second part of the study analyzed the data of 186 seniors living with high blood pressure collected by Midlife in the US Study (MIDUS). The numbers show the more money spent on others, the lower the their blood pressure was two years down the road. Other benefits included lower stress level and other perks outlined in the video above.

Whillans is calling it the “happiness boost of giving.”

It suggests to us that helping others might help us not be so physically affected by the stress that happens in our everyday lives,” she said in an interview with Yahoo.

Whillans says her team's next step is to see if volunteering has any similar health benefits, according to Vancity Buzz.

“We’re hopeful that we’ll see some evidence that using time to help others has similar benefits.”

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