This time of year is known as the season of giving! You shop for gifts to give to friends and family and get that warm, fuzzy feeling when they open something thoughtful. You may host a holiday party and share your home and a meal with those close to you. Or you may donate your time or money to a good cause. Giving to others shows kindness, love and compassion. But did you know that the act of giving has positive impacts on your physical, mental, and emotional health too? Here are a few more reasons why giving is better than receiving!
Giving makes you happy. Anticipating the happiness others will feel upon receiving a gift also makes you happy! A study by the Harvard Business School showed that participants who were given money reported more feelings of happiness when they spent it on another person rather than themselves. Scientific fact also backs up that study; giving activates the parts of the brain associated with pleasure as well as releasing more endorphins, giving you that positive, happy feeling.
Giving is good for your health. Giving may improve your health and increase your longevity. We all experience stress, especially around the holidays, but the act of giving decreases stress. Stress is associated with many health problems, and the reduced stress has a positive impact on overall health. A 2006 study showed that people who provided social support to others had lower blood pressure than other participants. Giving is good for the heart in more ways than one!
Giving encourages social connection. Giving promotes feelings of of trust and cooperation that strengthens our ties and relationships to others. Research shows that having positive social interactions is important to good mental and physical health. Additionally, generosity leads you to perceive others more positively and charitably!
Giving promotes gratitude. The act of giving (or receiving) a gift evokes feelings of gratitude, which also contributes to happiness, health and social connections. Gratitude helps you feel more positive and optimistic about life overall. Expressing generosity and gratitude through words or actions strengthens your bond with others and encourages their positivity as well.
Giving is contagious. Through your act of giving, you also inspire others to give as well! Not only do you help the immediate recipient of your gift, but you also start a ripple effect of generosity through your community. Your gift of generosity or time or money inspires the recipient to give to someone else. You could affect others' generosity up to three degrees!
However you choose to give and support others, give generously! Your kindness does a world of good for you, your gift recipient, your family and your entire community.