Reader's Digest

ALTRUISM FIGHTS PAIN

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Helping others makes you feel better about yourself—and it can also help you feel better physically. A series of experiment­s found that people giving blood to earthquake victims said the needle hurt less than those getting blood tests did; volunteers who helped migrant children experience­d less discomfort when their hands were immersed in cold water than those who hadn’t volunteere­d; and cancer patients who cleaned up for others reported less pain than those who cleaned their own spaces. Researcher­s theorize that altruism tempers negative experience­s by giving you a sense of control and meaning.

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