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Chronic Illness Q&A with Dr. B.

Larrry Berkelhammer, PhD., is the author of "In Your Own Hands," a book that talks about mind training to improve health in instances of chronic illness.

Larrry Berkelhammer, PhD., is the author of “In Your Own Hands,” a book that talks about mind training to improve health in instances of chronic illness.

The purpose of this blog and the entire website is to provide evidence-based information on how to live a vibrant, meaningful life while living with chronic health challenges.

I had been posting to this blog three times per week for the last three years. Monday posts were mindfulness research articles, especially as they relate to health. Wednesday posts are videos of my presentations or interviews. Friday posts consist of Q&A related to living a meaningful, values-based life, regardless of the nature of your particular life challenges. As of next week, There will only be two posts per week. The Wednesday videos will move to Tuesdays and the Friday Q & A will remain on Friday.

Here is this week’s question:

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION:  Please explain why volunteer work makes people happier and even healthier.

ANSWER:   Numerous epidemiological studies confirm this fact, but it is not known why. However, there is evidence that openhearted, social, relational, people are happier and healthier. This leads me to believe that the benefits have to do with focusing on others rather than on oneself. People who live isolated lives have higher rates of morbidity and mortality. Countless epidemiological studies have shown that a large number of close, intimate friends consistently correlates with greater happiness as well as health. There is also evidence that people who are very warm and openhearted, regardless of whether they do any volunteer work, tend to be healthier. All of us have had the experience of doing something to help someone else and then feeling really good afterward. Given the results of research in psychoneuroimmunology, this particular good feeling may be connected with a boost in the immune system.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges or issues related to wellbeing. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.

What questions do you have about living a life of mastery or about the relationship between the mind and health or wellbeing?

Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box below. Your specific question may not appear in this column. The reason for that is I wait until I get a certain number of related questions, then I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one. People in my classes and presentations asked most of the questions appearing in this column.

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