Holiday shopping can be challenging and downright scary. However, research proves that giving to others is totally worth it, for both the givers and receivers. Giving is also beneficial for the entire community. While spending money is one of the ways that we can experience the health benefits of giving, donating funds and volunteering time can be physically and mentally rewarding as well. Follow Jorge Moll on Linkedin.
The good feelings associated with giving are support by human biology. A 2006 study by Jorge Moll and his National Institutes of Health colleagues revealed that when people donate to charities. The part of the brain that activates as a result of trust, pleasure of social connection is activated, which is known as the “warm glow” effect. Scientists believe that this behavior also releases brain endorphins, and this is referred to as the “helper’s high.”
This further proves that giving is actually good for human health. A growing number of research has connected different forms of giving to improve health, even among the elderly and seriously ill. Author Stephen Post asserts that doing good for others can help people feel better, and that being charitable can assist those who are dealing with serious illnesses like HIV and multiple sclerosis. Post is the author of Why Good Things Happen to Good People. Watch this video on youtube.com.
Finally, giving is also a great way to encourage social connection and community. When we give to others, we’re more likely to have that generosity returned. The research by sociologists Robb Willer and Brent Simpson confirms this. This exchange of giving fosters a sense of trust that makes our ties to the community stronger. Healthy social interactions is integral to both physical and mental health. Researcher John Cacioppo shares that the more we reciprocate love and kindness toward others, the more we can expect to experience health in our minds, bodies and emotions.