Nitin is a certified life coach, executive coach, writer, husband, and father. His passion is to help people become their best version.
Humans Are Hard-Wired for Generosity
The winter holidays are a season of gift-giving in many places around the globe. People celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, the Chinese New Year, and other holidays during this period.
It is a season during which people are more eager than usual to give to others. This includes family, friends, colleagues, well-wishers, and even strangers.
Giving is an act of kindness whose benefits are greater than most of us recognize.
Medical technology company Abbott surveyed thousands of people across the world. They asked about the number one thing that gives them the utmost satisfaction and fulfillment.
Giving was always one of the top three answers. This finding is significant—it's almost as if we are hard-wired to be generous.
Take a look at scientific research about generosity. It is an actual fact that we get real mental and physical benefits from giving to others. I guess it really is better to give than to receive!
Why Do People Give?
- People give when they know that their donations are going to make a difference in the lives of other people.
- People give to support causes they find important. This includes environmental preservation, health research, or social equality.
- Some people give to support the fight against a particularly deadly disease. It may be cancer, HIV, or tuberculosis.
- Some people give because it makes them feel good, happy, and satisfied.
- Some people even give to reduce their income tax burden while helping others.
As you can see, there are many reasons why people might donate their time, money, or possessions. No matter the reason, it’s important to remember that the act of giving helps both the giver and the receiver.
Now that we know what motivates us to give, let's look into the actual benefits of generosity.
7 Benefits of Generosity for the Giver
- It activates the reward center in your brain.
- It improves life satisfaction.
- It makes you happy.
- It's contagious.
- It improves your health
- It reduces stress.
- It increases self-esteem.
1. It Activates the Reward Center in Your Brain
A study about the effects of giving was conducted by a U.S. university professor. It demonstrated that giving creates a pleasurable response in the brain. This response is just like that produced by psychotropic drugs and other pleasurable stimuli.
In other words, giving helps release chemical hormones like endorphins and dopamine. Both of these hormones give a person a pleasurable sense of reward and wellbeing. Giving feels great in the deepest part of your being, so why not do it more?
2. It Improves Life Satisfaction
Giving results in the release of oxytocin. It's a hormone that induces feelings of warmth, euphoria, and connection to others. Some think that this is why giving also promotes gratitude in the giver.
There are several neurological mechanisms involved in giving. Data has shown that people who donate time, money, or gifts report higher life satisfaction than those who haven't. The more generous you are, the more you'll enjoy your own life, so get out there and give!
3. It Makes You Happy
Another study was undertaken in the U.S. on the effects of giving. They found that people who are habitual givers report more joy, happiness, and contentment in life than those who don't give. There is a feeling of wellbeing and satisfaction generated by the simple act of giving. It helps make you happy!
4. It's Contagious
Giving inspires others to do likewise. A chain reaction, starting with one person, can spread generosity to no end. The act of giving is very contagious. Start giving, and very soon, you might see your friends and family being more generous as well.
There is great satisfaction in knowing that your acts of kindness are spreading to others. They may find inspiration and do the same. You never know how far the impact of a single gift or kind act could reach. Let's light the fuse of generosity!
5. It Improves Your Health
Generosity and altruism result in many health benefits. Here are a few:
- The act of giving can help reduce high blood pressure in a natural way.
- Giving can help reduce certain symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Giving can reduce loneliness and isolation.
- Giving can help boost the immune system to ward off sickness and disease.
- Generosity results in a longer lifespan. Perhaps giving could add weeks, months, or even years to our lives!
6. It Reduces Stress
Johns Hopkins University and the University of Tennessee conducted a study on giving. They found out that habitual givers experience lower rates of stress and lower blood pressure. Those who do not give don't enjoy these health benefits.
So giving gifts doesn't only make you happy—it also reduces your stress levels. It helps ease tension in your life. Who knew habitual generosity could help you unwind and stay healthy?
7. It Increases Self-Esteem
Statistically, givers enjoy a higher level of satisfaction and contentment in life. They have a more positive self-image and higher self-esteem than those who do not give. Generous individuals feel better about themselves, and others tend to view them in a more positive light.
We have heard about impactful philanthropists like Bill Gates and Sir David Sassoon. These people were all successful in business and trade. But the main reason that these individuals earned respect is their generosity. They have donated vast amounts of funds to charities and aid organizations. They have donated to environmental projects and educational initiatives too.
Will You Spread Generosity This Holiday Season?
Unlike impulsive spending, impulsive giving can bring wonderful blessings to your mind and body. If you’re not sure how to start with cash, get your feet wet by giving away some items from around your home. You may give away things like toys, clothes, canned food, furniture, or electronics. Then, when you’re in a position to give financially, take that step. You will not only be helping those you give to, but you’ll also be nurturing your own wellbeing too.
If you are not sure what and how to give, here are some suggestions:
- Donate a gift to a children’s charity.
- Donate canned food to a local food bank or a non-profit.
- Volunteer your services at meal kitchen, food bank, or shelter.
- Volunteer at a senior citizen center or assisted living facility.
- Volunteer at the humane society or an animal rescue organization.
Have you experienced the manifold benefits of giving in your own life? If not, this holiday season is the best time to start. Start by giving whatever you can—your time, services, materials, or money. Then watch how it improves your health, happiness, and general wellbeing. Have a merry Christmas. Happy giving!
- American Psychological Association
- Greater Good Magazine
- Greater Good Magazine
- Pacific Standard
- Psychology Today
- Wall Street Journal
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Nitin Khaire
Prateek Jain from Madhya Pradesh, India on December 30, 2019:
Surely, now Will follow your advice for new year as well. As being kind is a wonderful human behaviour and can be acted anytime.
Nitin Khaire (author) from Mumbai on December 24, 2019:
Thanks Prantika and Niks for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate your feedback so much
Niks from India on December 24, 2019:
Your articles always inspire readers with your simplified display of writing. The art of giving is a wonderful gift to mankind. The act of giving is always better than words of kindness. Thanks for such a boosting article.
Prantika Samanta from Kolkata, India on December 23, 2019:
Giving is a wonderful feeling because the smile and happiness on the other person's face fills one's heart with joy. Giving enables one to feel how privileged he or she is. Nice to read on giving.
Nitin Khaire (author) from Mumbai on December 23, 2019:
Wow. Thanks Prateek for your act of kindness. So glad to know that you were motivated by my article.
Prateek Jain from Madhya Pradesh, India on December 23, 2019:
Actually this article motivated me to donate something this Christmas.
Nitin Khaire (author) from Mumbai on December 21, 2019:
Thank you, Mr. Krishna, for the valuable comments. I appreciate your taking the time to read and give feedback always.
Halemane Muralikrishna from South India on December 21, 2019:
Give it away and get ready to receive returns. Festival seasons are the reasons to give goodnesses and get happiness in return. Timely article for developing instict in the readers effectively. Thank you Mr Nitin for sharing such purposeful article.