Buddha taught that one of the best ways to improve our own mental state is to help others. (See Bodhisattva vows - an antidote to depression and mental illness)
Now a scientific study has proved him right.
From The Telegraph By Nick Collins, Science Correspondent
"Volunteering may improve your health, according to a new study which found that those who do it live longer and are more satisfied with their lives. People who volunteer report having lower levels of depression and higher levels of well-being than average, while some research suggests it promotes a longer and healthier life.
A review of 40 academic papers on the subject by University of Exeter researchers found that volunteers are a fifth less likely to die within the next four to seven years than average.
Across the studies volunteers had lower self-rated levels of depression and higher levels of well-being and life satisfaction, although this has not been confirmed in trials.
It is thought that volunteering can be good for the physical health of older people in particular, by encouraging them to stay active and spend more time out of the house.
Volunteers often explain their motives in terms of wanting to "give something back" to their community, but without receiving anything in return the reported improvements in quality of life are harder to explain, experts said... " Full article
Bodhisattva vows - an antidote to depression and mental illness