December 19, 2014 8:10 pm

‘Helper’s high’: the gift that keeps on giving

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WATCH ABOVE: Why does giving feel so good? Su-Ling Goh explains.

EDMONTON – Do you remember the ‘Friends’ episode where Phoebe said there’s no such thing as a truly selfless good deed? Well, she may have been right. At least according to experts, who describe a biological phenomenon called “the helper’s high.”

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“There is what’s called dopamine, which is a hormone and a neurotransmitter, that is released into your brain if you do help,” explained Alisha Sabourin, a therapist at Insight Psychological.

Dopamine sends a surge of excitement to the brain, which reinforces the act of giving.

And ’tis the season for that.

READ MORE: Random acts of Christmas kindness

“Generosity is contagious,” Sabourin said. “It creates a ripple effect.”

Take, for instance, the hidden cash phenomenon that started in California, then popped up in TorontoVancouver and Edmonton, with people hiding large sums of money for others to find. Or the free Tim Hortons coffee craze that began in Edmonton and spread across the country.

Research shows giving can be addictive. But unlike other addictions, this one has a number of positive effects on your health, according to Sabourin. She explained the benefits can include decreased anxiety and blood pressure, along with an increased feeling of self-worth. 

Volunteering has been shown to be particularly good for people with depression, as it gets them out of the house and socializing.

And if parents want their kids to be healthy and happy, perhaps one of the best things they can do is teach them to be kind.

WATCH: Montreal-area parents teach kids true meaning of Christmas

With files from Su-Ling Goh, Global News

© 2014 Shaw Media

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