Every day is a great day to inspire your giving at 365give, but we love highlighting others who have giving initiatives that support our mission. #Givesomethingaway day does just that and we have Linda Eaton Hall-Fulcher to thank. She established the day to encourage generosity and giving in all forms. Hmm sounds familiar, no?
Like us, Hall-Fulcher based her passion for giving on research. She saw the evidence to be so strong she decided to build a day around giving. We decided to build a not-for-profit to share the benefits of giving. Our passion for giving has not stopped and nor has Hall-Fulcher. Researchers from the Univerisity of British Columbia (UBC) in British Columbia, Canada to Harvard continue to study the relationship between giving and happiness and an enhanced well-being to show others that we can be giving leaders in our homes, our schools, workplaces or community. The cool thing about giving, it is easy, and does not cost us a dime. If we want to donate financially to community organizations we can, but giving reaches far beyond just financial donations and have the same impact.
A famous study from Researchers at the Harvard Business School and the University of British Columbia found people who spent money on others felt greater happiness than those who spent money on themselves. Individuals experienced an increase in happiness in that moment that they gave something away. But how does this happen? It comes down to our biology and how our brains are wired and react when we give.
Researchers at the National Institute of Health measured the brain activity of individuals who both received and gave gifts. Their findings showed that the areas in our brains associated with reward were activated when giving. When these areas activate, your body releases dopamine, a type of neurotransmitter that plays a role in how we feel pleasure. This dopamine fuels these activated areas, reinforcing certain behaviors. Our brain learns what behaviors activate these regions, so we try to activate them as often as possible through similar behaviors. Their findings suggest that our brains enjoy both giving and receiving gifts.
The Women’s Philanthropy Institute funded another study that found giving, whether time, money, or resources, creates the same positive effect on us. Their research also shows that the more people give, the more life satisfaction and positive effects they feel. People who give more also have higher self-esteem. Their symptoms of depression and anxiety are reduced, along with their blood pressure and stress levels. A study by the University of Buffalo discovered that people who engage in helping others reduce their mortality rates and not just impact those who give receive. Both the giver and receiver are positively impacted by a give.
Giving to others is not just for those who are struggling financially. Yes, we have a food security issue throughout our globe, we have people who can not afford to pay their rent, and people who just cant seem to make ends meet. For us, giving to those who need our help is a given, and are always front of mind, always. But what about those people who are struggling with invisible issues, who could do with a moment of kindness, who seem to have it all together. All of us, despite our socio-economic status can benefit from a give, all of us. We promote giving every day so everyone can be touched by a give, not just those struggling. Every person, every animal, every part of our planet deserves and should have a give. This way they can feel the effects of giving and join in on giving!
Why am I saying this? Cause some days we forget. Some days we just focus on those who need our help instead of looking at all people, planet, or animal gives that share the happiness of giving. So today, diversify your giving and think of someone or something that has yet to receive a give from you.
When #givingsomethingaway today, make it meaningful. Do you have an article of clothing that you know someone loves? Is there a recipe that you know is someone’s favorite that you could make and then give away? Did you finish a puzzle someone loved that you can pass forward? or a book that you know someone is saving up to buy but you have a copy? Yes you could declutter today and send your items off to a charity, of course, but what if you gave something that you might use occasionally that you know would bring some else some joy? Try and and see how happy it makes you and the person you gave it to feel!
You could give away some of your compost you have been working so hard on a neighbour who you know wants to start a herb garden. Or you could give your pet that favorite toy you have been hiding from them in fear you would never get it back. Give it away to them!
Do a grocery shop for the food bank. Yes, choose food that you know people would appreciate, or food that might be hard for cultural groups to find. Donate fresh produce from your garden, or buy fresh produce you know someone could use today.
Giving of things we no longer use or items that we have not touched in years is easy, and we encourage you to do that, but today, give away something of meaning that you know someone else will get much pleasure from, the same pleasure you have received from the same item. You will create Happiness 2.0 when your give is this meaningful to the other, and they know it was meaningful to you! It could even be a smile to a stranger who you don’t even know! That happens so seldom these days. 🙂
Find more giving ideas on our blog, and start giving to people, the planet or animals every day. We love our shared mission with #givesomethingaway day but keep that happiness going by giving every day. You wont look back. The Women’s Philanthropy Institute is right, the more you give the better you feel every single day! Happiness and joy hang around when you take on a habit of giving.