The Emotional Benefits of Giving

Written by on November 2, 2020 in Stuff with 0 Comments
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Giving is something we all do regularly, whether it’s giving gifts for a celebrated occasion such as an anniversary or birthday or helping someone in need by giving monetarily or providing resources. Giving isn’t restricted only to physical goods but it is just as important to give someone close to us our time for comfort, support or just to be there. Many people do not realise, however, that giving isn’t only beneficial for the receiver but it offers a host of great feelings for the giver as well.

Making a Difference

Whether giving a little or a lot, if you give to benefit someone else you can make a huge difference in the life of someone in need or a family that is struggling. For instance, many charities exist to support communities in developing countries that are less fortunate than the rest of the world and without this support, these people would drastically struggle to survive. When you give is completely up to you and it is more common for people to give around major holidays, such as Christmas and Ramadan, when communities generally come together to celebrate. Ramadan 2021 dates are expected to fall on Monday 12th April lasting through to Tuesday 11th May, with most Muslims making their donations on the last ten nights.

This type of giving is important as it is giving without expectation of a reward and instead, giving purely for the benefit and goodness of others. The emotional benefits of giving to charity are huge, making us feel happy in knowing that we’ve contributed to making a difference and potentially even saving a life.

Give to Live Longer

Many studies have been carried out on the benefits of giving and of that research, one of the most interesting findings was that people who give actually live longer than those who don’t. The University of California looked at two groups of people over the age of 55, one group who didn’t give their time for others and one group who were involved with volunteering for at least two organisations. Of the group that eagerly volunteered, 44% were less likely to die in a five year period, even when taking into account other health conditions and bad habits. A similar study carried out by the University of Michigan found that even giving time and support to friends, family members and neighbours made a difference to expected life-span.

Dopamine Production

Our brains are incredible organs responsible for all our thoughts, feelings and memories and to create emotions, certain chemicals are produced and released. There are three chemicals that our brain produces to create those ‘feel good’ feelings known as serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine.

Using an incredible piece of medical technology called the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine) researchers were able to study the signals sent in the brain for individuals who gave to one or many charities and found that all three of these chemicals are produced during and after giving. This makes us feel happy and relaxed and sends a positive signal to the reward centre of the brain, essentially leading to a euphoric feeling known as the ‘helper’s high’.

In Summary

Giving doesn’t have to be some grandiose gesture or something you shout about across social media, it is between you and the cause you wish to support. Whether that’s raising funds to sponsor a family in need or simply popping round to a neighbour to give them some of your time. Giving is its own reward as proven by many studies and research and if we all chose to give a little more, we would all feel much better for it.

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