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The Joy of Giving

Why altruism and generosity make us healthier and happier-and how we can all give more.
by Stephen G. Post

BIG MOVES – Adjusting to New Places Through Helping Others

Sometimes we do not realize how challenging big moves from one part of the country to another can be. Loss of job and place are two of the three big stressors in life, and it can take a couple of years to fully adjust. We practices a lot of volunteerism and helping activity, and that made all the difference. New York is sure different than good old Cleveland! Read More

Stephen G. Post (www.stephengpost.com) is Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University, and Director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics (www.stonybrook.edu/bioethics). He is recognized internationally for his work on the unselfish compassionate love at the interface of science, ethics, spiritual thought, and behavioral medicine.

He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago (1983), where he received a “distinction” for his dissertation on love and human fulfillment, was elected a University Fellow, and taught in the Pritzker School of Medicine. He has continued to focus on the theme of altruism and love over the entire course of his career across a variety of disciplines. During the 1990′s his research on the dynamics of compassionate love in the lives of persons with dementia and their caregivers resulted in his being elected member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board of Alzheimer’s Disease International. Post served on the National Ethics Advisory Board for the Alzheimer’s Association, and was recognized in 1998 for “distinguished service” by its national board. In 2004 Post was elected a Distinguished Fellow of College of Physicians of Philadelphia. His research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, and various other entities. Post founded the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love – Altruism, Compassion, Service (www.unlimitedloveinstitute.com) in 2001 with a generous grant from the Templeton Foundation in order to facilitate research, writing, conferences, and courses at the interface of science, spirituality, health, and love for humanity. The Institute has funded more than 70 scientific studies at universities from Harvard to Stanford converging on the reasons why positive “spiritual” emotions (compassion, forgiveness, love & gratitude) and giving behaviors benefit givers; it has also convened an annual conference of 1000 participants from 40 different countries, bringing together spiritual leaders, theologians, scientists, and practitioners of compassionate love from every corner of the globe. Dr. Post has chaired nine national conferences, and delivers numerous invited lectures in the United States and abroad.

Post has published over 150 articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Science, The International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, The Journal of Religion, The American Journal of Psychiatry, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and The Lancet. He has written seven scholarly books on altruistic love, and is also the editor of eight other books, most recently including Altruism & Health: Perspectives from Empirical Research, and Altruism and Altruistic Love: Science, Philosophy and Religion in Dialogue, both published by Oxford University Press. His most recent book is The Hidden Gifts of Helping, published with Jossey-Bass (February 2011). He was the lead author of Why Good Things Happen to Good People, published with Broadway Books (2007).

Post lives in Setauket, New York