Giving is good for you, which is why we shouldn’t just reserve it for the holidays. With Thanksgiving just behind us and Christmas on the horizon, many of us having charitable giving on our minds. We’re writing out our holiday gift lists, shopping for others, sponsoring kids for Christmas, and making year end donations. But did you know that giving is good for you, physically, mentally, and spiritually?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the following health benefits are associated with giving: lower blood pressure, increased self-esteem, less depression, lower stress levels, longer life, and greater happiness. In a 2006 study, the National Institutes of Health studied the MRI’s of people who gave to various charities. They found that giving stimulates the reward center in the brain, releasing endorphins and creating what is known as the “helper’s high.” (If everyone was addicted to this “helper’s high” imagine how the world would change for the better!)
Why Giving is Good for You
Giving is good for you because it makes you (and me) less selfish and places the focus on helping others rather than dwelling on our own problems. It’s hard to be mad at your jerk of a boss while serving dinner at a homeless shelter to people who are smiling at you, thankful to be eating a hot meal. It’s hard to be sad that your friend didn’t invite you to the party when you’re at the toy store shopping for a child who wouldn’t have a Christmas without your generosity.
Giving is good for you and me because it causes us to be grateful for all of the blessings that we have. Several years ago, on the weekend before Thanksgiving, I helped with a hot food giveaway for the homeless in the inner city, less than 10 miles from my home. In addition to the meal, we also gave out care packages of socks, toiletries, hats, and gloves. Afterwards, I cried the whole way home in my car, grateful to God that I had a car and a home with heat and so many other things that these homeless people did not. In our consumer-driven society, it’s easy to get sucked into the cycle of wanting more and better stuff. Giving to others helps us take a step back and realize how blessed we already are.
Giving is good for you and me financially because we reap what we sow. Whether you call it Karma, the Universe, God, or the Great Spirit, there is a universal law of sowing and reaping. Financial guru, Rich Dad Robert Kiyosaki state the importance of giving as part of a healthy financial plan. Robert says, “I always chuckle when I hear a person say, ‘I’ll give money when I have money.’ From my point of view, the reason they do not have money is because they do not give money.” This is why I tell my coaching clients that they need to include giving in their budgets, even if they are in debt. Giving starts the receiving process!
I’m not sure how or why the universal law of sowing and reaping works. I just know that it does work! This is why I make giving a part of my financial plan EVERY MONTH, not just during the holiday season. I encourage you to do the same and see if you are not enriched by the spirit of giving, in your health, in your wallet, and in your heart.
Do you give to your church or other charities on a regular basis? Have you experienced any of the benefits of generosity described here?