February 4, 2019

Giving Is Good

You know you have arrived at a certain stage of humanity when you are mature enough to prefer giving to getting. That is because giving is good.

That it is better to give than receive is common wisdom. It is also commonly ignored, or disparaged during times of selfishness and greed. 

In spite of that, scientists are finding that generosity, giving and helping changes everything - it changes the giver, the receiver, and changes weak communities into ones that are strong. 

Giving our time and assistance to others can have health, as well as social, effects. The act of giving has been found to reduce mortality risk associated with depression and stress in the giver.

One study found that volunteerism provided similar health benefits as exercising 4 times a day, or attending church regularly.

After giving we experience what is known as "giver's glow" or "helpers high". This rush of feel good brain chemicals makes us feel happier and more satisfied with life.

So the other day, when our neighbour dropped by with a homemade pie, it felt great. But it felt even better to give her a jar of our homemade pickled beets when she left.

We have to be careful, however, that giving is not interpreted as an obligation, or the giver's glow could turn into compassion collapse over time.

Therefore, giving should be offered voluntarily and spontaneously to have all those positive effects.

When it is offered freely, the positive effects of giving are spread widely. It does not matter if you are giving money to a charity, helping your aged neighbour shop for groceries, or giving someone something you have in your house but no longer use or need, the beneficial effects are the same. 

It has been shown that just thinking about helping can yield some benefits  as well.

And are there not more opportunities to give and to help now than any other time in human history? There is so much need globally, that there are plenty enough opportunities for every single one of us to become advocates and practitioners of repeated selfless acts towards others (including Mother Earth).

It comes down to a very simple conclusion. Practice giving - be healthier and happier - make your community, and the world, a better place. 

And as a bonus? Live longer. 

It that simple. It works. 

Giving is good.


  1. I am a firm believer in service.

  2. In the mode of moving and downsizing so giving away a lot. Looking forward to a life of fewer things and more time with family. Also letting go of a lot of civic responsibility. I plan to be careful of my time, at least while I settle in. But I'm sure I will get involved in my new location also.


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