December is a month for giving. Have you ever wondered why it feels so good give gifts? Research suggests that giving, whether that’s something you can wrap in a box, a gift of time or a random act of kindness is good for us because:
Giving evokes gratitude and happiness
Giving a gift of any kind, even the smallest of gestures, connects us to our own feelings of gratitude as well as instilling gratitude in the recipient of your gift. Gratitude in turn contributes to our overall sense of happiness and wellbeing. In a 2006 study, Jorge Moll and his research colleagues discovered that charitable acts stimulate regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect. Research also shows that altruistic behaviour releases endorphins in the brain, producing the positive feeling known as the “helper’s high.”
Giving is a way to connect
Evidence from Brent Simpson and Robb Willer suggests that giving to another person often leads to a reward at some point in the future either from that person or someone else. And from these exchanges, a sense of trust and co-operation develops which then leads to more positive mental and physical health.
Giving is contagious
Research shows that when one person behaves generously, it inspires people around them to behave generously too.