During the holidays, gift giving is in full swing. But sometimes, it’s easy to fall into feeling obligated to give, as opposed to feeling compelled to. Don’t let this get to you! In fact, generosity benefits not only the other person, but for you as well. Here’s 5 ways that gift giving actually improves your health!
Being stingy with your money increases stress. As I’m sure everyone has experienced. And the reverse is also true: generosity decreases stress. Researchers from the National Institute of Health found that generosity, or gift giving, release endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are happy hormones and reduce cortisol levels (stress hormones) in the brain.
The next time you’re stressed, turn to gift giving. Win-win.
Promotes Social Connections
Receiving gifts makes people feel good. When you’re the one who gives the gift, you’re the source of their good feelings. Gift giving promotes a greater sense of trust and cooperation with other people and a greater sense of intimacy. And social connections and interactions are key to good mental health.
When it comes to gift giving, it really is the thought that counts.
Turns “Me” to “We”
None of us are perfect — when you think about yourself too much, it’s all too easy to succumb to the critical inner voice. Gift giving, however, shifts your focus outwardly. Instead of thinking about how something might be affecting you, you’re thinking about how someone else might benefit from what you’re giving.
And the more you give, the easier it gets. It’s a positive feedback system of positivity.
Because of the decreased levels of stress and improved social connections that gift giving (generosity) brings, the factors for heart disease and heart attacks are lowered. Feeling good links back to your physical health too. In a 2013 study, researchers looked at the effects of volunteering on the health of teenagers. After 10 weeks, they found that students in the volunteer group had lower levels of cholesterol and inflammation.
Makes You Happy
When you give gifts, and anticipate the happiness of the receiver, it makes you happy too. In a famous experiment, researchers gave participants $10 and told them to do whatever they liked with the money. The ones that spent the money on other people reported higher levels of happiness than those that spent it on themselves.
This is how money buys happiness — when you spend it on another person.
[quote_center]What else inspires you to give?[/quote_center]
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