The Christmas season is here and in full swing, we are busier than ever with our to-do lists yet we are all so Merry & Bright. I wondered why that was, as typically the season bring more stress and chaos to our already hectic lives. I found out the magic is all in the Giving. Not surprising as that very premise is what started this whole celebration in the first place. Interesting health facts to share on the topic:
Giving makes us feel happy. A 2008 study by Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton and colleagues found that giving money to someone else lifted participants’ happiness more that spending it on themselves (despite participants’ prediction that spending on themselves would make them happier). These good feelings are reflected in our biology. In a 2006 study the National Institutes of Health found that when people give to charities, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect.
Giving is good for your health. Researchers suggest that one reason giving may improve physical health and longevity is that it helps decrease stress, which is associated with a variety of health problems. In a 2006 study by Rachel Piferi of Johns Hopkins University and Kathleen Lawler of the University of Tennessee, people who provided social support to others had lower blood pressure than participants who didn’t, suggesting a direct physiological benefit to those who give of themselves.
Giving evokes gratitude. Whether you’re on the giving or receiving end of a gift, that gift can elicit feelings of gratitude—it can be a way of expressing gratitude or instilling gratitude in the recipient. And research has found that gratitude is integral to happiness, health, and social bonds.
Giving is contagious. When we give, we don’t only help the immediate recipient of our gift. We also spur a ripple effect of generosity through our community.
So whether you buy gifts, volunteer your time, or donate money to charity this holiday season, your giving is much more rewarding than you might think. It may help you build stronger social connections and even jumpstart a cascade of generosity through your community. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself benefiting from a big dose of happiness in the process.
Wishing you a Healthy & Happy Christmas Season.
Advanced Skin Solutions