The joy felt upon receiving a gift or having an act of kindness be directed towards you is truly exceptional. What many may consider even more enjoyable however, is being on the opposite end of this selfless act.
Giving to others evokes a sense of happiness felt by both parties, making it a mutually beneficial practice. Similarly, donating on a larger scale can have the same effect. So, what is it exactly that generates this positive sense of self worth when we choose to give?
Just as an avid runner experiences a runner’s high, people who donate are often met with a rush of endorphins, tapping into your brain’s reward center. Oxytocin is also produced, which can directly lower levels of stress and anxiety, and this feeling can last for up to 2 hours afterwards. This is seen as why people who donate want to continue donating and helping others.
One’s general income should not be a deciding factor in whether or not he or she chooses to give. While making less money prompts many people to save whatever they can (and rightfully so), giving just a small amount, so little as to not affect your income at all, can evoke the same feelings of generosity and pleasure. It’s a widely accepted concept that ultimate fulfillment comes from giving and helping others rather than receiving cash or gifts of any size.
Selflessness connects us as human beings. It is in our nature to strive for socialness, despite what more reclusive individuals may argue. Generosity is a survival instinct of ours. Sharing your possessions with another to help them is programmed in our DNA, which is what has kept our species alive for so long. Imagine if the first humans to ever exist kept to themselves and refused to help those around them. We surely would not have come this far in terms of human advancements if that were the case.
Having a purpose has also been linked to physical health benefits. With happiness comes the preserving of your mental health. People who donate their time and goods on a regular basis were found to have significantly fewer health problems than those who don’t, including improved sleep, and lower levels of stress. Even if you’re struggling to find a large charity or organization that speaks to a passion of yours, simply doing a random good deed for someone else can help you experience these same feelings.
If you aren’t already an avid donor or someone who strives to do good in the world, consider the the benefits that come with doing so while always understanding the importance of helping others. With an endless range of charities and organizations to choose from, it shouldn’t be too difficult finding one that speaks to your heart.