7 Reasons Why Giving Makes Us Happy
Giving makes donors feel joyous and connected, and can physically good for you. Studies have shown that volunteering makes people feel physically healthier, manage chronic health conditions and lower stress!
When people give to charities, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect. Scientists also believe that altruistic behavior releases endorphins in the brain, producing the positive feeling known as the “helper’s high.”
Here are 7 reasons why it feels so good to give.
Making an Impact
Looking to make a real, lasting difference in this world? It’s easy to get inspired with a cause you truly care about—and it’s rewarding to see your direct impact.
You can meet so many great people when you get involved with a nonprofit. A local nonprofit can put you face-to-face with people right in your community—and it’s easy to bond over a shared passion. You can meet people you may not have otherwise met in your day-to-day grind.
Giving money away can tangibly improve your health.
According to Elizabeth Dunn, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia, people who donate to charity have lower blood pressure, even when controlling for factors like income, wealth, age and exercise.
Dunn measured participants’ blood pressures before and after giving, and found it fell when people gave significantly to other people or causes, but did not change when they spent money on themselves.
The extent to which people feel connected to the cause is also important, with more of an effect when people feel personally connected to the cause to which they are giving.
Giving is “not just heartwarming, it may be quite literally good for our hearts,” she said.
Being a Leader
Many find that leadership – as a lead donor, as a board member, or as a volunteer – is a rewarding experience. When you take a leadership role, you can share your passion, value and inspiration with others.
Everyone has a skill or experience from which someone else can benefit. If you aren’t putting your talents to their best use in your everyday life (or even if you are!), volunteering can be a prime way to share. Get out in your community and put your skills—teaching math, online marketing, programming or writing—toward helping others. You may be surprised at how good you will feel about using your skills for good.
Improving Skills—or Learning New Ones
Want to learn basic carpentry, improve your cooking or discover how something works? Classes and courses can come at a cost—but volunteering is free! Why not begin your learning at no charge with an organization or opportunity where you can learn by doing?
Finding new opportunities
Doors open when you volunteer. You can widen your social network, discover an organization in your community or finally talk to the person you always see on the bus! Who knows…you may even stumble across your dream job by meeting your future colleague or next job reference.