Christmas is approaching and with it our thoughts are full of giving. Now, Pink&Green are in the business of making and selling organic skincare products. Thus, I’ll not pretend that you engaging in that sort of giving is of no importance to me. It’s my livelihood – so of course it is. But what I most want to delve into a little in this blog are the benefits of giving and caring in the wider sense. Because, as with a puppy, giving and caring is for life – not only at Christmas. So read on for 3 benefits of caring and giving. At least!
Giving and Caring and Helping Others
The benefits of giving and caring then are manifold. Helping others doesn’t only benefit those we are helping – it benefits us too.
This Action for Happiness blog lists 10 keys to happier living that lie in doing things for others. The blog describes how giving – of our time, our skills, our knowledge etc – connects us to those around us. Such giving makes for stronger communities and helps to make a happier society for all concerned. The central message here is that if you want to feel good then DO good!
Doing something for someone else is the most powerful of ways to boost your own happiness as well as that of those around you. The kindnesses you give can be small unplanned acts or regular volunteering. And remember that giving isn’t only about money and material things. Something as simple as a kind word, a thoughtful gesture or even a smile can have a more positive effect than you can know.
But what about the giver?
Well scientific studies show that helping others boosts our own sense of well-being. Besides that, giving and caring can:
- Increase life satisfaction by providing a sense of meaning and feelings of competence. And that in turn enhances our mood and reduces stress. Such activity can take our minds off our own woes and even show us how fortunate we are. And that’s no bad thing is it?
- Stick us together. Kindness to others forms a connective glue between our individual happiness/needs and those of our community. These connections help us to meet one of our basic human needs – that of relatedness.
- Be contagious! When we see someone do something kind or thoughtful, or we are on the receiving end of kindness, it tends to inspire us to be kinder too. And so kindness spreads from one person to another and as it goes it influences the behaviour of people who are ignorant of the original act. You want to live in a happier and more trusting community? Well kindness IS the key.
“No one has ever become poor by giving.”Anne Frank
Of course there’s a caveat
These 3 benefits of caring and giving are a mere flavour of the blog I refer to. It does though come with a caveat. If helping bears associations of increased happiness – then feeling burdened by it will have the opposite effect. A prime example being long-term carers. Evidence suggests that, while giving for pleasure increases personal contentment and happiness, feeling burdened by it does the opposite.
Physical health benefits
So that’s the emotional well-being benefits of giving and caring. But what about the physical? If your response to that is ‘what about it?’ the answer is this: helping others is good for your heart and your overall health.
Yes – that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you give a gift is good for your health! Research into measuring the benefits of giving suggests that giving and volunteering can help to reduce stress and depression. Indeed, a professor of preventive medicine at Stony Brook University in the USA posits that giving is as important to maintaining your health as avoiding tobacco and obesity. Is there a better reason than that – and Christmas of course – to browse the Pink&Green gift selection and choose something gorgeous for a friend? And for yourself!