Whether it’s gifting to charity or being generous to a soul in need, there’s no doubt that the act of giving makes us feel good. That warm fuzzy feeling inside isn’t the only positive effect of giving, though – believe it or not, there are tangible physical and mental health benefits to adopting a giving spirit, too.
Before we get stuck into it, let’s take a closer look at the aforementioned ‘warm fuzzies’. We experience this thanks to certain regions of our brains being activated when we give, specifically the areas associated with pleasure, trust and connection with others. Our brains release serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin when we give (these three neurochemicals are also known as ‘the happiness trifecta’), flooding us with endorphins and lighting up the reward centre of our brains. This process then leads to a bunch of great side effects like decreased depression and increased self-esteem.
Physiologically, a few other things happen to us when we give as well – some research has shown that those who offer social support to others have lower blood pressure, decreased hypertension and lower stress levels, and that they can recover better from heart-related issues. Even a study that showed you can live a longer life when you align yourself with generosity; people aged 55+ were 44% less likely to die over a five year period when they volunteered for two or more organisations.
With so many different upsides that lead to great flow-on effects into our day to day lives, embracing a more giving attitude in life is the new ‘apple a day’. How can you employ more generosity in your life?