您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 纽约时报中英文版 >> 健康 >> 正文

为什么行善有益于你的健康?

更新时间:2017-10-30 18:53:50 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Why Doing Good Is Good for the Do-Gooder
为什么行善有益于你的健康?

The past few months, with a series of disasters seemingly one on top of another, have felt apocalyptic to many, but the bright side to these dark times has been the outpouring of donations and acts of generosity that followed.

过去几个月来,灾难似乎一个接一个地发生,令很多人都有世界末日的感觉。但是在这些黑暗的时刻之中,也有光明的一面,那就是随之而来的大量捐款与善行。

From Hurricane Harvey flooding Houston to Hurricanes Irma and Maria ripping through the Caribbean to wildfires burning Northern California, cities and charities have been flooded with donations and volunteers. The outpouring of support is critical for helping affected communities to recover. But acts of generosity benefit the do-gooder, too.

从淹没休斯敦的飓风哈维(Hurricane Harvey),到席卷加勒比地区的飓风艾玛(Hurricanes Irma)和玛丽亚(Maria),乃至蔓延加利福尼亚州北部的山火,在这些灾难发生的地方,城市和慈善机构无不被大量捐赠和志愿者淹没。众多支援对于帮助受灾社区恢复生机至关重要。但是,慷慨的行为也会令行善者自身受益。

“Research suggests that these community social connections are as important for resilience to disaster is as physical material like disaster kits or medical supplies,” explained Ichiro Kawachi, a professor of social epidemiology at Harvard’s School of Public Health. “Voluntarism is good for the health of people who receive social support, but also good for the health of people who offer their help.”

“研究表明,在社区抗灾过程中,社会维系和急救包以及医疗用品等物质资源发挥着同样重要的作用,”哈佛公共卫生学院(Harvard’s School of Public Health)社会流行病学教授河内一郎(Ichiro Kawachi)解释道。“志愿服务能帮助获得社会支持的人恢复健康,也对提供帮助者的健康有益。”

The day after Cristina Topham evacuated her home as a result of the fires in Sonoma, Calif., she and her boyfriend immediately looked for ways to donate and help.

由于加利福尼亚州索诺马的大火,克里斯蒂娜·托潘(Cristina Topham)被迫离家。第二天,她和男友立刻开始寻找捐款和帮助他人的途径。

“I just felt like I had to do something. I love my town and my community, and the reach of the destruction was astonishing from the very beginning,” she said.

“我只是觉得自己必须做点什么。我爱我的城市和社区,而且破坏的范围从一开始就那么惊人,”她说。

Why is the first instinct for many to volunteer and donate after a natural disaster? One reason is that as humans we’ve evolved to survive in groups, not alone. Rallying together makes us feel less alone in the experience, explained the sociologist Christine Carter, a fellow at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

为什么自然灾害过后,志愿服务和捐赠成了许多人的第一本能?其中一个原因是,随着人类的发展,我们已经演化为群体动物,而不是单独生存。加州大学伯克利分校至善科学中心(Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley)研究员、社会学家克里斯汀·卡特(Christine Carter)解释说,团结在一起会让我们在灾难中感觉不那么孤单。

“When our survival is threatened, we are going to reach out and strengthen our connections with people around us. We show generosity. We show compassion. We show gratitude. These are all emotions that function to connect us with each other,” Dr. Carter said.

“当生存受到威胁时,我们会伸出援手,加强我们同周围其他人的联系。我们表现出慷慨。我们表现出同情心。我们表现出感激之情。这些都是能让我们彼此之间产生联系的情感,”卡特说。

Scientific evidence supports the idea that acts of generosity can be beneficial when we volunteer and give back regularly — and not just after a natural disaster. Volunteering is linked to health benefits like lower blood pressure and decreased mortality rates.

科学证据表明,不仅在自然灾害过后,平时也定期提供志愿服务、回馈他人的慷慨行为是有益的。志愿服务同降低血压和降低死亡率等健康益处存在相关性。

Dr. Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist and founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, has been studying the effects of positive emotions, such as compassion and kindness, on the brain since the 1990s. He said the brain behaves differently during an act of generosity than it does during a hedonistic activity.

自1990年代以来,位于麦迪逊的威斯康星大学健康心理中心(Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin)的创始人、神经科学家理查德·戴维森(Richard Davidson)博士一直在研究同情和善意等积极情绪对大脑的影响。他表示,在进行慷慨的活动时,大脑的表现与进行享乐活动时是不一样的。

“When we do things for ourselves, those experiences of positive emotions are more fleeting. They are dependent on external circumstances,” he said. “When we engage in acts of generosity, those experiences of positive emotion may be more enduring and outlast the specific episode in which we are engaged.”

“当我们为自己做事情时,积极情感的体验较为短暂,因为它们依赖于外部环境,”他说。“而当我们从事慷慨行为时,积极情感的体验能够一直延续下去,可能比参与的具体事件更为持久。”

Helping others also gives us a sense of purpose. Dr. Linda Fried co-founded Experience Corps, a program that engages retirees as literacy tutors, after she discovered a strong association between a sense of purpose and well-being throughout life. Older adults who volunteered to help children with reading and writing tended to experience less memory loss and maintain greater physical mobility, one study suggested.

帮助他人也带给我们一种目的感。琳达·弗赖德(Linda Fried)博士发现,目标感和人生幸福之间存在强烈的联系,于是她与他人合作,创建了“体验团”(Experience Corps),招募退休人员教人识字。一项研究表明,志愿帮助孩子阅读和写作有助于老年人缓解健忘,并且更好地保持身体灵活。

Giving back is a fundamental teaching of many religions. Jesus had the Golden Rule. Buddha said in order to brighten one’s own path, one must light the path of others.

回馈是许多宗教的基本教义。耶稣有黄金法则。佛陀则说,为了看清自己脚下的道路,就必须照亮他人的道路。

During a trip to India in 2016, I experienced firsthand how the benefits of doing good are well established in Indian society. I paid a visit to a Vedic astrologer because I was anxious about an uncertain future, my own personal crisis, and received a list of prescriptions to help others to get through it. The first task was to buy a black-and-white checkered blanket, then visit a local leper colony and donate it to the first person I saw. My next task was to buy a six-pound bag of lentils, circle it around my head, chant a Sanskrit mantra and give it to a homeless person.

2016年在印度旅行期间,我亲身体验了善行的益处植根于印度社会之中。因为对不确定的未来以及我个人的危机感到焦虑,我拜访了一位吠陀占星学家,从他那里收到了一份处方,要我通过帮助他人来解决自己的焦虑。第一个任务是购买一张黑白格子的毯子,然后拜访一个当地的麻风病人聚集地,并且将它捐给我看到的第一个人。下一个任务是购买一袋6磅的小扁豆,把它顶在头上,一边诵读一段梵文真言,一边把豆子布施给无家可归的人。

Certainly, many Westerners would roll their eyes at these unconventional “prescriptions,” but they were familiar to my Indian friends, who believe they hold real power.

这种非常规的“处方”,肯定会让许多西方人翻白眼,但是对于我们的印度朋友们来说,这些是非常熟悉的,他们认为这种行为会带来真正的力量。

Later, to better understand the significance of the rituals, I reached out to Dr. Deepak Chopra, author of “You Are the Universe.” He said the philosophical underpinnings in India come from the Vedas and Buddhist traditions, where “all human suffering is a result of the hallucination of the separate self.”

后来,为了更好地了解这些仪式的意义,我联系了《你是宇宙》(You Are the Universe)一书的作者迪帕克·乔普拉(Deepak Chopra)博士。他说,印度的哲学基础来自《吠陀》和佛教传统,主张“一切人类痛苦都是独立个体幻觉的产物”。

Dr. Chopra explained: “The moment you identify yourself as separate from other beings, or other people, or separate from life in general then you will suffer. And it all begins with initial anxiety because when you’re disconnected from people and life, you feel fear, and that creates the beginning of suffering.”

乔普拉解释说:“一旦你将‘自我’这个身份同其他生命或其他人分离开来,将它从普遍的生活中割裂出去,你就会开始感到痛苦。一切都始于最初的焦虑,因为当你同他人和生活分离时,你会感到恐惧,这就造成了痛苦的开始。”

Would Western doctors ever prescribe acts of generosity? Dr. John Rowe, a professor of health policy and aging at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, doesn’t rule it out.

西方医生是否会把慷慨行为作为自己的处方呢?哥伦比亚大学梅尔曼公共卫生学院(Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health)的健康策略与衰老研究教授约翰·罗(John Rowe)博士不排除这种做法。

“We have sufficient scientific information to justify a very significant public health initiative,” he said. “If there were a retiree in my office I would ask them, ‘Do you smoke? Do you exercise? What is your diet like?’ I should also be asking them if they volunteer.”

“我们有充分的科学信息证明志愿服务是一项非常重要的公共健康倡议,”他说。“如果有退休人士来我的办公室咨询,我会问他们,‘你吸烟吗?你运动吗?你的饮食怎么样?’我还应该问问他们是否从事志愿服务。”

“全文请访问纽约时报中文网,本文发表于纽约时报中文网(http://cn.nytimes.com),版权归纽约时报公司所有。任何单位及个人未经许可,不得擅自转载或翻译。订阅纽约时报中文网新闻电邮:http://nytcn.me/subscription/”

相关文章列表