When we think about the benefits of giving, we often think about the impact it has on the receiver, not the person who gives. But do you know that giving of your time, money, possessions or talents can have lasting benefits for you as well as the person you are giving to? Here are five ways you can change your life, when you choose to make a difference in someone else’s.
1. Giving affects us physically
Research has shown that the simple act of giving can change the physiology in your body for the better. Triggering the pleasure centre of your brain, giving causes endorphins and the hormone oxytocin to be released into your blood stream helping you to feel less stressed by lowering your cortisone levels and more happy.
2. It puts life into perspective
Did you know more than 1 billion people lack adequate access to clean drinking water and an estimated 400 million of these are children? Or that 1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty according to UNICEF? When we start to focus more on the suffering and needs of others, It helps put our problems and life into perspective.
3. It fosters gratitude
When we give we are reminded of how fortunate we are. How often do we take for granted the water out of our taps, the light that comes on with the flick of a switch, the clothes in our cupboard, the bed we sleep in and the air conditioning we turn on when we are hot or cold?
It can be so easy to get caught up in our every day lives and challenges that we forget how much better off we are than most of the population. The truth is if you have food in our fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a bed to sleep in you are better off than 75% of the world’s population.
Being grateful for what you have breeds happiness and contentment, it can also create a yearning to give more because you realise how blessed you really are.
4. You feel joyful
You’ve experienced it haven’t you, the joy of giving to someone? Seeing or imagining their face when they get what they really want and need? It fills you with complete and utter joy. The ability to change someone’s day, year or life can be extremely satisfying.
5. It increases social connection
Giving also increases our social connection, by promoting selflessness and equality. We each have a responsibility to help each other, and restore faith in how wonderful humankind can be.
How you choose to give is up to you. It could be giving money or possessions by paying for the groceries of the person behind you, sending money anonymously to a family you know is struggling, donating clothes and items, or giving to a charity whose cause you are passionate about.
Or it could be to giving of your time and talents, like visiting with the elderly, volunteering at a soup kitchen, doorknocking for a cause, cleaning up after a disaster or building a project here or overseas.
Every day you have the power to make a difference, what will you be doing today?