There is a Chinese saying that goes: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” For centuries, the greatest thinkers have suggested the same thing: Happiness is found in helping others. True happiness is something we all long for.
“Before giving, the mind of the giver is happy; while giving, the mind of the giver is made peaceful; and having given, the mind of the giver is uplifted.
This quote, to me, represents a good mind-set of the idea that giving is better than receiving or getting. We all know giving helps others, but it’s also good for the giver! A wealth of research proves that giving not only puts a big fat smile on your face but also triggers significant physical and psychological rewards. Here are some science-backed reasons on why giving is good for the mind, body and soul.
Give more, live more! Studies have shown that giving decreases your mortality risk. According to a report in the International Journal of Psychology, giving is said to lower blood pressure, increase emotional health and self-esteem, and improve cardiovascular and nervous systems. Giving also encourages interaction with others which alleviates social isolation and loneliness, which has links to ill-health.
Giving is the gift that keeps on giving! When we generously share, an infectious wave of kindness and compassion is sparked, causing a cascade effect.
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego and Harvard revealed in a 2010 study that cooperative behaviour is contagious and that it spreads from person to person to person.
“Many studies show that one of the best ways to deal with the hardships in life is not to just centre on yourself but to take the opportunity to engage in simple acts of kindness,” says Stephen G. Post, professor and author of the best-selling book The Hidden Gifts of Helping: How the Power of Giving, Compassion, and Hope Can Get Us Through Hard Times.
In short, doing good makes you feel good! A review published by BMC Public Health also revealed that giving reduced rates of depression and increased a sense of life satisfaction and wellbeing amongst givers.
Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible.– think George Bailey at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life. Once we begin practising gratitude, our brain actively looks for things to be grateful for, encouraging us to focus on the positive aspects of our lives.
So many of us strive so hard for material success that you might think there was a clear relationship between wealth and happiness. Consequently, it comes as a shock for many people to learn that there is no straightforward relationship between wealth and well-being.
If anything, it appears that there is a relationship between non-materialism and well-being. While possessing wealth and material goods doesn’t lead to happiness, giving them away actually does. Generosity is strongly associated with well-being. For example, studies of people who practise volunteering have shown that they have better psychological and mental health and increased longevity. There is NO substitute for caring.
The gift of time is often more valuable to the receiver and more satisfying for the giver than the gift of money. We don’t all have the same amount of money, but we all do have time on our hands, and can give some of this time to help others.
Believe it or not, even business is 100% about giving to the customer, not taking from them. You might have the best product in the world and there’s no denying it, but no matter how good it is, building a relationship and being dedicated to solving their problem will always triumph.
Winston Churchill once said: ‘We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give .’ In conclusion, giving is like a boomerang, you may throw it really far, but in time it will always come back to you. Personally I feel that giving, no matter how little or how large will always result in the same way, both sides, the giver and the receiver will both be cheerful.
Helping others may just be the secret to living a life that is not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive, and meaningful. Thus bringing me to my conclusion which is that I believe life isn’t about getting and having. It is about giving and being.