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Working on this mural at Bay View High School may have made me healthier, today's head cold notwithstanding.
Working on this mural at Bay View High School may have made me healthier, today's head cold notwithstanding.

Doing good makes you feel good, too

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It seems obvious, at least to someone with zero medical qualifications like me, that doing good makes you feel good, which ought to have some health benefits.

I thought a bit about that Monday when I and some of my OnMilwaukee.comrades worked together at City Year Milwaukee's service day at Bay View High School. Some of us built storage boxes for classrooms, others built benches and still others painted murals to help beautiful the school environment and inspire students.

We're not professional carpenters or artists, but, as Molly Snyder says, we put our hearts into our work and I think the results bear that out.

According to Terri Cole – the CEO of Live Fearless and Free and an adjunct professor at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts – who wrote on the subject for Huffington Post, "feel-good hormones like serotonin, oxytocin, endorphins, and dopamine may be released when a person sees a direct positive result from their good deeds. The act of being of service and exchanging positive energy with another human is a psychological and emotional win-win.

"An intriguing study from the Corporation for National and Community Service titled "The Health Benefits of Volunteering" showed that states with higher volunteer rates have overall better health and lower rates of heart disease. Along with the positive physical benefits, an increase in mental health was reported due to the personal sense of accomplishment from the volunteer activity. Volunteers also have lower rates of depression and live longer."

I like to think that our brief time in the halls of Bay View High School Monday have made everyone involved a little healthier, be it physically or emotionally.


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