An act of kindness goes a long way. It not only helps the receiver but also the giver. Here are some of the mental health benefits of giving.
Doing something for yourself can make you happy. But have you ever experienced the small amount of joy you can experience after giving something to others or doing something for someone? Giving back through donations or volunteering can improve the lives of others, but did you know it can also be good for your health? The benefits of giving are such that you can feel an instant boost in mood. You can also establish a sense of purpose and direction when you realize that the lives of others can be positively affected by what you do.
The link between happiness and spending money on goals and charity was found in a 2008 study published in the journal Science. On the other hand, the research showed that the money the participants spent on new things or personal expenses had no effect on happiness. Another study, published in 2016 in the journal Emotion, suggests that doing “random acts of kindness” for others can help boost mood.
What are the mental health benefits of giving?
Contributions have a positive impact on the donor’s mental health in several ways. When you give mindfully, using your unique strengths and capabilities, you’re not only giving something meaningful, you’re also engaging in activities that are fulfilling to you. This helps to have not only a sense of connection, but also joy and gratitude. This boosts your emotional and psychological health, says psychotherapist, life and business coach Dr. Chandni Tagnait.
Here are some ways that can be beneficial for your health:
1. The joy of giving
The joy that comes from giving is one of the most direct mental health benefits. Giving, whether it’s a modest gift or a significant gesture, makes us feel happy and fulfilled, which can improve our mood and overall well-being.
2. Stress reduction
Giving has the potential to relieve stress. When a person does acts of compassion or gives to those in need, oxytocin, a hormone associated with reducing stress, is released. Thus, givers often experience reduced levels of stress and anxiety.
3. Reduced depression
Giving can reduce symptoms of depression, which can be managed by building on one’s sense of purpose and the satisfying emotions that come from helping others.
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4. Increased life satisfaction
Giving is supposed to be a happy lifestyle. It improves our sense of meaning and fulfillment in life, which increases our overall life satisfaction.
Giving promotes compassion and empathy, says an expert. Thinking about the needs and feelings of others encourages empathy.
6. Positive effect on cognitive function
The act of giving can help improve the parts of the brain associated with rewards and pleasure, which have a positive effect on cognitive function, says Dr. Tuneit.
7. Development of appreciation
Giving makes one feel grateful and increases our awareness of the blessings in our own lives. This can lead to feelings of greater gratitude and appreciation.
Giving is a noble gesture, and every act of kindness has the potential to inspire others. When people witness acts of giving, they are often inspired to contribute, creating a cycle of generosity that can transform communities. But it can go too far if it causes you to overstress and neglect your own needs. Overcommitting to volunteer work or humanitarian causes can lead to burnout.
So balance heartfelt generosity with wise self-care. By regularly replenishing and replenishing your own reserves, you build the stamina to keep going at a steady pace for the greater good.
The next time you decide to help a neighbor with groceries or a housemate’s errands, don’t forget to recharge first.
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