Why Giving Is Good For You

Anyone can tell that giving helps others. Your gift can offer emotional, financial, and other forms of support to your friends and family or any other recipient when you give. But giving can boost your happiness too.

Studies show that charitable actions can positively affect your health and happiness. Giving to others makes you feel good about yourself and helps you feel like you belong in the community.

Studies report various other benefits. From reduced blood pressure to increased self-esteem and stress levels, giving feels good and is excellent for your health!

Why else is giving good for you? Consider these reasons:

  1. It makes you feel happy. A Harvard Business School professor observed that giving other people money lifted respondents and increased their happiness more than spending it.

● This conclusion is interesting because you'd think people would rather be happier spending on themselves. But giving, instead, gives people greater happiness.

● Another professor at the University of California also observed similar results when she asked participants to do five acts of love every week for a month and a half. These two studies teach us that giving has a positive effect on our mood.

  1. Giving gets you more -- and better -- relationships. The best proof that giving is good for us comes from a study by Ascent. Participants who gave more freely reported a more significant number of close friends than those who weren't as generous.

● What does this mean? That giving makes us happier -- and more social? That's true. But it probably comes from the mindset you get. You see, when you give to someone, it changes your perspective. Your focus changes from what they can do for you to what you can do for them.

● As a result, you develop more empathy, and that, in turn, can help you build more meaningful friendships.

  1. You get a greater sense of meaning. Giving also helps us better understand ourselves and our relationship to the world. When you give, you find out what you are truly capable of. You find out you can make a real difference.

● And that can make life more meaningful. We know we're contributing to something bigger than ourselves when we give.

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  1. It can increase your lifespan. People in old age, who have tapped into their generosity, tend to be healthier than those who don't. So, donating your time, money, or skills can make you live longer.

● Recent research shows that people above 55 years who give to charity are more likely to live five years longer than those who don't. That even accounts for other age-related health concerns and habits like smoking and drinking.

● The conclusion? Giving to charity can make you live a longer, happier, healthier, and more enjoyable life.

  1. The act of giving encourages social connection and cooperation. When you give to someone in need, you're more likely to feel closer to that person. That closeness can help you develop deeper relationships, so if you're feeling lonely or isolated, giving can bring you some relief.

● Also, when you give, there's a good chance that you'll get back in return. A lot of research -- like those from sociologists like Brent Simpson and Robb Willer -- concludes that what you give will get rewarded in time.

● You may get it back from the person who received the gift, but more often, you'll receive it in other forms.

You may not have the financial resources to give as much as you'd like, but you can choose to provide in other ways, like your time or energy. Volunteering also helps the community and gives you the feeling that you're making a tangible difference.

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