Have you ever been more excited to watch someone open your gift than you were to unwrap your own? (If not, you should probably work on that.) There’s a certain satisfaction in seeing someone benefit from our actions. It turns out that the act of giving could be a key factor not only in the recipient’s well-being but also in your own health and happiness as the giver.
Giving can mean a lot of different things, whether that’s providing emotional or financial support to a person or cause, volunteering your time, or giving more of yourself in your relationships. The way you decide to give back isn’t important, because it’s the intent behind the giving that makes a difference in your own happiness. Take it from Winston Churchill who said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
Giving Is Good for You, Too
The idea that giving back can benefit the giver’s emotional state is not a new concept. Aristotle pinpointed this idea with his concept of Eudaimonia – the euphoric state of happiness that someone can only experience by carrying out moral duties. But, what about the physical benefits of contribution? The resounding opinion in modern research and testimony is that giving back does, in fact, affect the giver’s physical (and mental) well-being.
In a recent study,* researchers suggest that giving support versus receiving it benefits your brain more. The study reported that the act of giving activates different parts of your brain in different ways — it decreases the stress-related activity in your brain and increases the reward-related activity. This means that besides the warm and fuzzy feeling you get by serving others, giving back can help you manage stress and offer you a feeling of repayment.
Want to see if it’s true? Try volunteering! Volunteering is a fantastic way to not only give back but also to reap countless rewards. The Mayo Clinic** suggests that volunteering can reduce depression, decrease stress, and even help you live longer! This could be partly because many volunteering activities require you to be more physically and mentally active. But, volunteering also expands your social network and builds camaraderie among givers, which are both contributing factors to your overall contentment.
If time is not on your side, consider making a monetary donation to a worthy cause near to your heart. Not sure where to direct your dollars? We invite you to give to the Isagenix Legacy Foundation, focused on providing healthy nutrition for underserved children, wellness education for all, and aid for those affected by natural disasters. Every monetary gift, regardless of how big or small, counts toward making a positive impact on those in need.
Contribution gives us a purpose, connects us to the people around us, and ultimately gives us a subconscious idea that our giving will someday be repaid.
So, go out there, be selfish, and give back like a boss.
*Giving Versus Receiving Support. Psychosomatic Medicine, 78(4), 443-453. doi:10.1097/psy.0000000000000302
**Helping people, changing lives: The 6 health benefits of volunteering. (2017, May 18). Retrieved November 09, 2017, from https://mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/helping-people-changing-lives-the-6-health-benefits-of-volunteering