How was your weekend? Relaxing or exciting? Both are great, and we actually need both at different times (or you can have both at the same time)!
Thanks to technology, researchers are able to see brain activity during certain acts or activities. Did you know that when you make a donation to charity, your brain acts in a way similar to when you’re intimate or eating chocolate? In a study of those who donated to a worthy cause, the midbrain region of the brain lit up. This is the area of the brain responsible for our cravings and pleasure rewards, showing the link between charitable giving and pleasure. It’s true. This reward or pleasure response to giving is the physiological reason behind the “warm glow,” or that good feeling you get when you give and why you may choose to spend money on others or charity rather than yourself.
But does giving actually make you happier? According to a survey and study by researchers, it does. They found that people who spent a higher proportion of their income on gifts for others and donations to charity were “happier.” The researchers randomly assigned people to 4 groups that were told to spend $5 on themselves, $20 on themselves, $5 on others or $20 on others. Those who spent $5 or $20 on others reported being much happier, while those who spent money on themselves showed no change in happiness. Also, the group that gave away $5 was just as happy as the group that had $20 to give away, showing that happiness in giving can be more about the how than the how much.
Something to Think About
If giving gives you pleasure and can make you happier, should you start giving to others if you want to be happier? Research says yes; however, there’s more to it: Research also shows that when you give with the intention of giving vs. giving to get, your response and reward is much better! More about that next week.
Donate your time or some money to your favorite cause. If you don’t have one, this is a great time to find one!
Words of Wisdom
“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller
“If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us.” – Daisaku Ikeda
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” – Maria Robinson