National Philanthropy Day and the Science and Joy of Philanthropy November 15, 2023

Written by MSDC Staff

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November 15 is National Philanthropy Day, a day that recognizes those who support the betterment of humanity through contributions of time, talent, treasure, and good deeds. This day is also Wellness or Wellbeing Wednesday, MSDC’s weekly reminder of the importance of physician wellbeing. The overlap of these two days highlights that philanthropy and wellness go together. There is in fact a joy to giving. 

Giving benefits both the giver and the recipient. Science shows that giving has both physical and mental health benefits. Giving has been proven to reduce blood pressure according to a study published in the journal Health Psychology. In some cases, the health benefits parallel blood pressure medications. 

Philanthropy also triggers a “helper’s high” and boosts wellbeing and mental health.  A team from the National Institutes of Health found that when individuals donate money, the mesolimbic system in the brain is activated and feel-good chemicals like oxytocin and endorphins are released. Individuals also experience positive feelings from volunteering time and talent or doing good deeds.

To amplify the wellness benefits of philanthropy, give to a worthy cause. Physicians in the District of Columbia are invaluable and serve a diverse Washington community. However, physicians today suffer from moral injury and have one of the highest rates of suicide of any profession. The Healthy Physician Foundation is a DC-based non-profit with a range of funds dedicated to addressing physician wellbeing, potentially career-threatening conditions, and more. Tax-deductible donations of any size are welcome.