Acts of voluntary kindness and empathy are known to increase feelings of happiness and contentment but is that where the benefits stop? According to a new study by Harvard University, consistent volunteerism not only improves one's quality of life, but also may increase one's lifespan. This conclusion stems from a study on loneliness, and the physically negative, depression-inducing effects it can have on people, especially the elderly. There is much evidence that suggests that altruism can counter the bleak effects of isolation and loneliness; Dr. Eric Kim of Harvard's School of Public Health claims that "volunteerism among older adults doesn't just strengthen communities, but enriches our own lives."

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