With all the pressure of finding the “perfect” gift for those you love it may be helpful to keep perspective. Generosity comes in many forms. Wether it’s a simple act of random kindness, giving a special gift to another or donating time or money to a favorite cause. Giving has many benefits.
Giving is good for your health
Generosity is proven to help you live longer because it lowers your stress level. Numerous studies link various forms of generosity to better health.
A 2013 study from Carnegie Mellon University found that people who volunteered approximately 4 hours per week are 40% less likely to develop high blood pressure. The research suggests that giving decreases stress which is associated with a variety of health problems. A similar study done in 2006 at Johns Hopkins University showed that people who provided social support to others had lower blood pressure than participants who didn’t.
Giving makes you feel happy
It turns out the expression “it’s better to give than receive” is true.
A 2008 study by Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton and colleagues found that giving money to someone else lifted participants’ happiness more than spending it on themselves. Acts of kindness actually change our biology. Giving has been scientifically proven to provide a neurological rush that makes the giver feel good. Generosity also helps to counter depression.
Giving provides a sense of belonging
When you give a gift to another you connect with them in a new way. Acts of generosity connect you to the individual and community in a way that takes you outside of your own needs. This human connection links you to the tribe as member and helps to foster a sense of belonging.
Generosity is contagious
Paying it forward really is a thing. Studies show that random acts of kindness not only benefit the giver but are often replicated by those who either benefit from the act or witness it. There are numerous websites, organizations and videos dedicated to random acts of kindness.
Have you ever noticed when you hold a door open for a stranger they often hold it for the next person. You never know what people are struggling with so a small random act of kindness can make all the difference to someone having a rough day.
So as we head into 2019, put your smile on and give! Realizing that warm glow you got by doing something for someone else makes you beautiful from the inside out.