There’s one way to be healthier that’s been hidden in the Bible for nearly 2,000 years. And scientists have recently discovered it.
The latest issue of The New York Times Magazine reveals the results of a scientific study on what effect being a giving or selfless person has on a person’s health.
They found that people who are selfish have “high levels of biological markers known to promote increased inflammation throughout the body” which lead to “cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.”
On the other hand, people who are others-focused have lower levels of inflammation and are less prone to infections.
These researchers concluded that “[Genes] can, it seems, reward us with healthy gene activity when we’re unselfish — and chastise us, at a microscopic level, when we put our own needs and desires first.”
What these scientists have just discovered is something Jesus taught nearly 2,000 years ago:
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)
We normally take this passage in a figurative sense–that people who live for others will be happier, their life will be richer and more meaningful.
But it would now seem that there’s something more literal here. Jesus’ teaching might not be a key to happiness only but also to physical healthiness.
Because it turns out, those who seek their own life (selfish people) actually do literally lose it–they are more prone to cancer, sickness and other diseases. And those who give their life away by focusing on others are indeed healthier and save it.
As the study concludes, our bodies indeed behave differently whether we live a “purpose-driven life” or a “shallower one.”
Original article from the August 25, 2013 issue of The New York Times Magazine: