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5 Reasons Why Giving is the Quickest Way to Happiness

by Jamie Kennedy on Thursday 8 August 2019

 

We’ve all been there. Searching for that perfect gift the night before Christmas, or Googling “gifts for her” a week before your partner’s birthday praying it will arrive in time. But when that’s all said and done, and you have the perfect gift in hand… do you notice that hit of happy you get as soon as you deliver your thoughtful gift?

It’s for good reason you’re feeling happy in that moment. It turns out that gifting isn’t just for the recipient, but for the gift-giver too! Not only that but, research says that gifting, whether it is through the act of gifting, donating or volunteering your time, is good for humans on a much larger scale. Entire communities can benefit greatly from the act of giving to one another.

Here’s why:

GIVING MAKES YOU HAPPY

The very act of giving sends a boost of happy chemicals (oxytocin and dopamine) to the human brain. We actually give ourselves a “self-reward” boost for a job well done. Studies suggest the reason behind this biological phenomenon is evolutionary. In order to survive, our species needed (and continues to need) a strong level of cooperation with each other. And so, the human brain is actually wired to feel happy when you give to one another.

GIVING CREATES COMMUNITY

What’s even more awesome about the effect of the happy chemical oxytocin is that it can last up to 2 hours. Feeling that lasting happiness, you are actually more likely to show kindness and empathy to others – turning a single act of kindness into potentially several more. And because it’s human nature to model our behaviour based on others, giving encourages others to do the same! Giving becomes contagious. Just take for example these amazing stories of people who started donation frenzies.

GIVING MAKES YOU HEALTHIER

Not only do we get a hit of happiness from giving but, it actually reduces blood pressure! Studies have shown that over time with continual giving, you could actually see your blood pressure lower. As if that wasn’t enough, that oxytocin hit you get from giving is also reducing stress. Win, win.

GIVING MAKES YOU IRRISISTIBLE

OK maybe. But, giving does increase your self-esteem and self-confidence is well, sexy! The reason? People who focus on themselves too much can experience a lack of self-esteem. One way to get out of this funk is to simply focus on others! And giving is a great way to do so.

GIVING IS FOR EVERYBODY

It really is. And you can do it in so many ways. You do not have to be wealthy to give. You do not have to match any particular criteria to give. You can just be you, and that’s the best part! Here’s 5 great ways to give out those warm fuzzy feelings:

  1. Give a Free Class to Virgin Active to a friend
  2. Send a Thank You note to someone who has impacted your life
  3. Offer your seat to the anyone on a crowded train or bus
  4. Pick up 3 pieces of garbage in your neighbourhood
  5. Buy the next person in line a coffee on the morning commute

See, it’s easier to give than you might have even realised. Happy giving!


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