Does giving make you happy? Many believe that better to receive than to give. But it is giving that make us happier. The research confirm that giving in various forms contributes to our well-being. Have you heard that giving is good for your soul? S, giving is also good for your physical health.
Did you heard the Secret Santa’s story? In 2018 a homeless man named Moses decided to give away 3000$, giving 100$ to anybody who noticed him. “It feels so good to give to others!” – he said. So, if you want to lift yourself up, go and do something kind for somebody, even if they are just strangers.
The chemistry behind giving that makes us happy
There is truly something magical or literally chemical about the feeling you get when you give to others. The fact is that selfless actions like volunteering or donating can help to decrease the symptoms of stress a known risk factor for many chronic diseases. Not just money or food, but also giving your time and assistance to others also reduces depression and anxiety.
Different studies have consistently shown that giving makes people feel good. It is because our body responds to the act of giving by producing “happiness” chemicals – dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin. The release of oxytocin induces feelings of warmth, euphoria, and connection to others. Laboratory studies at Claremont Graduate University have found that a dose of oxytocin will cause people to give more generously and to feel more empathy towards others. What is more, those emphatic people can provocate a magical circle, where one person’s generous behavior triggers another’s.
5 reasons why giving is good for you
Besides gift shopping, especially during the Christmas period, can be terrifying, the research shows it’s worth it. New studies suggest the benefits of giving are not just for the recipients. Giving is good for the givers’ health and happiness as well as for the strength of entire communities. According to the research the same benefits come not just from giving nice things but also from donating to charities or volunteering your time. Here are some reasons that giving is good for you and your community.
Giving makes us feel happy
A professor from Harvard Business School, Michael Norton, together with colleagues found that giving money to someone else lifts givers’ happiness more than spending it on their own needs. When people give to charities, for instance, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust. This way giving creates a so-called “warm glow” effect. An altruistic behavior releases endorphins in the brain, producing the positive feeling known as the “helper’s high.”
Giving is good for our health
A wide range of research has linked different forms of generosity to better health, even among the sick and elderly. In the book Why Good Things Happen to Good People, the author of the book and a professor of preventative medicine at Stony Brook University, Stephen Post, reports that giving to others has been shown to increase health benefits in people with chronic illnesses, including HIV and multiple sclerosis.
People who provide practical help to friends and relatives, or give emotional support to their family members, have a lower risk of dying than those who do not. Altruism and giving improves physical health and longevity. It helps decrease stress and lowers a risk of variety of health problems.
Believe it or not, volunteerism reduced mortality rates even more than exercising four times weekly. The study found also that people who volunteered for two or more causes had a 63 percent lower mortality rate than those who didn’t volunteer during the study period.
Giving promotes cooperation and social connection
When you give to others, your generosity is rewards by others — not just by the person you gave to but also by someone else. What is more, the exchange of goods and experiences promotes a sense of trust. Trust in its turn, strengthens our relationships and ties to others which is fundamental to good mental and physical health.
As John Cacioppo reports in his book Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, “The more extensive the reciprocal altruism born of social connection the greater the advance toward health, wealth, and happiness.” So, when we give to others, we don’t only make them feel closer to us, but we also feel closer to them.
Giving evokes gratitude
Whether you give or receive a gift, that gift can stimulate feelings of gratitude. As a result, your gift can be a way of expressing gratitude or impressing gratitude in the recipient. Also, research has found that gratitude is basic to happiness, health, and social bonds.
The Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness has shown that teaching college students to cultivate gratitude caused them to exercise more, be more optimistic, and feel better about their lives overall. Expressing gratitude to a friend or romantic partner strengthens our sense of connection to that person.
Giving and helping others is the one of the seven life areas according to the 7-step model. Kindness is a bridge between people. Think, what you can do for others? When you give, you don’t only help the immediate recipient of our gift. You also spark a ripple effect of unselfishness through your community. When one person behaves generously, it inspires observers to behave charitably later, toward different people. In fact, the researchers found that altruism could spread by three degrees— from one person to another person and then to another person. As a result, each person in a network can influence hundreds of people, some of whom they do not know and have not never met.
So you have to know, that whether you buy gifts, volunteer your time, or donate money to charity your giving is much more than you thought before. Giving helps you build stronger social connections and even causes a cascade of generosity through your community. It takes place also in the case of social media. When you give to your audience and are willing to help them, it jumpstarts a virtue of positive feelings, things, and actions. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself benefiting from a big dose of happiness in the process! Take gifts with respect and be kind to people.
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