It can be challenging to find the perfect gift for a friend or loved one, especially during the holidays, but the rewards are beneficial for everyone involved. Studies are showing that you may receive just as much of a boost from giving as receiving.
It has been proven that giving actually makes humans happy. A Harvard Business School study conducted in 2008 by Michael Norton and his colleagues revealed that when people give money to others, they feel happier than they would if they kept the money and spent it on themselves. This was the case even when participants thought that keeping the money would make them happier.
Jorge Moll and colleagues further explored this theory and found that the positive feelings we have when giving are part of human biology. The study was conducted t the National Institutes of Health, and assert that people feel a “warm glow” effect or “helper’s high” when they donate to charities. This is because the part of the brain that responds to pleasure and social connection is activated during the giving process.
Giving can also have a positive effect on our overall health. Several research studies over the years have made the connection between improved health and being generous, even among those who are sick or elderly. Author Stephen Post, a preventive medicine professor who wrote Why Good Things Happen to Good People, stated that helping others improved the health of people with conditions like HIV and multiple sclerosis (JorgeMoll).
University of California Berkeley professor Doug Oman also conducted a study in 1999 that showed that elderly individuals who volunteered for two or more charitable organizations increased their chances of living by 44 percent over a five year period when compared to their peers who did not volunteer. A 2003 study by Stephanie Brown of the University of Michigan also confirmed that individuals who helped their family members and friends often or provided emotional support to their spouses were at a lower risk of dying over a period of five years than those who did not.
It’s easy to see that giving can be good for us, which may serve as motivation to keep doing good deeds or to take up a worthy cause to better ourselves and the community.
More about Jorge Moll at http://www.abc.org.br/~JMOLL