Can Giving Make You Happier?

Here’s a wonderful thought… giving can make you happier! Since today is “Giving Tuesday” what better day then to talk about the benefits of giving and what it does for yourself, others and our world. 

Right off the bat let me just give you the health benefits of giving:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases self-esteem
  • Lessens depression
  • Lowers stress levels
  • Promotes a longer life
  • Increases your threshold for greater happiness

How does giving do all this?  Giving lights up the pleasure centers of the brain creating something called “The Warm Glow or the Giver’s Glow.”

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health looked at the functional MRIs of subjects who gave to various charities, they found that giving stimulates the reward center in the brain — releasing endorphins.

On a relational level, giving connects us to others and reminds us that we can be part of something greater than ourselves. In other words it gets you out of your own brain and helps you focus on others…which turns out is a relief!
Giving creates a shift from self to the collective. Here’s some super interesting info on happiness I found on 
“According to one such study that analyzed data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Survey, a collection of statistics representing the largest and longest-standing series of observations on happiness in the world, the trait most strongly associated with long-term increases in life satisfaction is, in fact, a persistent commitment to pursuing altruisticgoals. That is, the more we focus on compassionate action, on helping others, the happier we seem to become in the long run.
What’s more, according to another study, altruism doesn’t just correlate with an increase in happiness; it actually causes it—at least in the short term. When psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky had students perform five acts of kindness of their choosing per week over the course of six weeks, they reported a significant increase in their levels of happiness relative to a control group of students who didn’t.
But why would creating value for others boost our happiness set-point beyond the point at which our heredity has set it when things like career advancement, money, and marriage don’t? One possibility is that the more value we create for others, the more value we assign ourselves. Helping others, in other words, enhances our self-esteem. On the other hand, if the reason that value creation increases long-term happiness is only because it enhances our self-esteem, then career advancement and wealth accumulation (which often enhance our self-esteem) should increase our long-term happiness set point, too. But they don’t. So maybe creating value for others doesn’t increase our long-term happiness as much because it enhances our self-esteem as it does our sense of purpose.”

So if you’re looking to increase your level of happiness and connect to others adding value to their lives and yours simultaneously here are some companies and charities I found that do just that.

 Sydney Paige – Sydney Paige has a mission to not only develop community awareness around this, but provide children with the essential tools they need in order to receive a proper education. Through their Buy One/Give One program, Sydney Paige donates a matching bag filled with school supplies to a child in need every time a purchase is made. Sending kids back to school can be expensive when living near or below the poverty line, alleviating this issue for struggling families.

●  Boutique Mexico – Boutique Mexico is devoted to delivering fashionistas with stylish apparel that is ethically made, eco-friendly while also providing artisan women with a dignified job, livable income and an opportunity to continue to practice an ancient cultural art. Every purchase from Boutique Mexico will help impoverished women rise out of poverty and ensure a better future for them and their loved one.

●  Alp-n Rock – Alp-N-Rock: High quality winter outerwear; At the core of this growing luxury brand is the ethos that the greatest luxury is the ability to give back. With a passion for philanthropy, Alp-n-Rock donates 10% of its profits to the Room to Read Foundation which sends girls in developing countries to school giving them the gift of education.

●  Lassig – Chic diaper bag company…. Lassig means “casual” in German and that, along with function, style and quality are at the core of this company’s products and so is social responsibility. The brand prides itself on being a good world citizen. That means creating sustainable, eco-friendly goods crafted by workers who earn a fair wage. Lassig also supports a number of global initiatives including protecting forests, rescuing fawns and protecting wildlife in Africa.

●  Sababa – The USDA estimates that 42 million people in the United States are food insecure as of 2015. Of this number, 13,118,000 are children under age 18. That means 1 in 6 children live in a household without consistent access to adequate food. Sababa is a One into OneTM company. For every product sold, Sababa gives a meal to a child in need, right back into the community where the product was sold. Sababa provides an opportunity for people to give back without changing their habits or daily routines. Sababa represents a way of life and making a difference in the community.

●  Walking With Anthony – Foundation committed to changing the recovery outcome of spinal cord injury. Founded by Anthony’s mother, Micki Purcell, Walking With Anthony was born out of Anthony’s devastating spinal cord injury. Devoted to helping people stand up to their wheelchairs, Micki learned through her experiences with Anthony’s injuries that victims and their families don’t know where to go for help.

I hope this helps you find more joy and happiness this holiday season!

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