January 2, 2024
Why Giving Feels So Good
Famous quotations about the joy of giving are easy to come by, for instance:
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
- Winston Churchill
“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
- Ann Frank
“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”
- Booker T. Washington
Washington’s quote appears to have scientific backing. One study led by investigators at the University of Zurich in Switzerland gave participants $100 and told half of them to spend it on themselves and the other half to spend it on someone else. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain, the researchers found greater activity in the region of the brain associated with happiness among those who spent their money on someone else than those who spent their money on themselves; in fact, just committing to generosity showed a neural link with happiness.
"Researchers found greater activity in the region of the brain associated with happiness among those who spent their money on someone else; in fact, just committing to generosity showed a neural link with happiness.”
Health benefits of giving
According to Health Shots, there are seven health benefits to giving:
- An improvement in mood and general well-being.
- Reduction of stress.
- Reduced depression.
- Enhanced life contentment.
- Positive impact on cognitive function.
- Greater gratitude and sentiments of appreciation.
Brain benefits of giving
Dr. Eva Ritvo says the benefits of giving go even deeper, especially when giving back to the community. In an article published in Psychology Today, Dr. Ritvo says helping others affects our brain in additional positive ways, including:
- Empathy. By putting yourself in the shoes of another person and trying to help them with what they need, you can build the area of the brain associated with empathy.
- Mirror Neurons. When you help someone else, you trigger their happiness. Both the giver and receiver can impact each other’s brain in a positive way.
- The Happiness Trifecta. Helping others triggers a release of oxytocin, which boosts your mood and counteracts the stress hormone, cortisol. When oxytocin is boosted, so are serotonin and dopamine, other powerful “happiness” brain chemicals.
Researchers have also found generosity can lower your blood pressure and studies have concluded people who volunteer tend to live longer than those who don’t.
EveryStep provides many ways to give through community involvement, including volunteer opportunities, fundraising events and donations. At EveryStep, we understand during life’s most difficult moments, we all need a care and support network to guide us. Parents with young children experience an especially vulnerable stage in life. EveryStep weaves together the threads of a care and support network so no one falls through the gaps and is left to struggle on their own.
You have the power to help those struggling right here in your community. Your gift, even a small contribution, becomes another thread strengthening the community fabric that binds us together.