Growing up, I was always taught that “If you’re feeling down, go help someone.” Could there actually be a connection between our own well-being and our acts of kindness?!
Besides the obvious, that GIVING HELPS OTHERS, giving can also have a profoundly positive effect on us, and here are 5 reasons why giving is so good for us.
1. GIVING OFFERS US PURPOSE.
One of the most famous quotes by Aristotle (the Greek Philosopher) is simple: "What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good." Helping others is one of the most rewarding human experiences; it benefits others and it allows us to feel purposeful, needed and necessary. If you’ve ever volunteered your time or resources, you know the great joy that comes from helping someone in need — helping others gives us purpose.
2. GIVING MAKES US FEEL GOOD
Need more happiness and joy in your life? Try GIVING! Your time, your expertise, your resources — any form of giving. Studies show that giving releases endorphins that are “feel good”. In an article published in 2017 on nature.com titled A Neural Link Between Generosity and Happiness, researchers used fMRI to research how happiness is connected to generosity on a neural level, and they found that giving truly does increase our feelings of happiness! Not sure you believe this? Try giving and see how you feel!
3. GIVING CULTIVATES GRATITUDE.
Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of person? People who have an ‘attitude of gratitude’ are often the ones who have the glass half full. So if you’re looking to start seeing life in a more positive light, try giving. When we give of our time, energy and/or resources, we will be exposed to others who may not have as much as we do, and in turn, this can inspire us to be more grateful. When one of our kids went on an outreach trip to help those in need, he returned immensely grateful and appreciative for the many blessings in his life — something he could only experience through serving others who were in great need.
4. GIVING HAS HEALTH BENEFITS
Doctors tell us that increased stress and anger are not healthy; they can cause high blood pressure and anxiety; whereas calmness and peace are great at reducing stress, which lowers blood pressure. In a 2020 article by the Cleveland Clinic titled Why Giving Is Good For Your Health, the article outlines how giving can help boost mental health, lower blood pressure and reduce feelings of depression. This supports what I was always taught: “If you’re feeling down, go help someone” — a very practical and active approach to maintaining part of our mental wellness.
5. GIVING BRINGS CONTENTMENT
When we do acts of kindness out of a true desire to help others, we actually receive something in return — contentment and happiness. Michael Norton, a Professor at Harvard Business School, gave a Tedtalks called How to Buy Happiness. He discovered that spending money and time on other people is actually how we can find greater happiness for ourselves; the more we give and do things for others, the more content we will be. “Whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” (2 Cor 9:6).
Ultimately, giving can MAKE OUR WORLD A BETTER PLACE because it benefits EVERYONE, so don’t be shy, get out and GIVE!