Helping others is not only good for them and a good thing to do, it also makes us happier and healthier too. Giving also connects us to others, creating stronger communities and helping to build a happier society for everyone. And it’s not all about money – we can also give our time, ideas and energy. So if you want to feel good, do good! …
The benefits of helping others include:
1. Helping increases happiness
While it has long been assumed that giving also leads to greater happiness this has only recently started to be scientifically proven. For example, when participants in a study did five new acts of kindness on one day per week over a six-week period (even if each act was small) they experienced an increase in well-being, compared to control groups…
And there is now evidence that this leads to a virtuous circle – happiness makes us give more, and giving makes us happier, which leads to a greater tendency to give and so on. This effect is consistent across different cultures.
2. Giving feels good
Giving literally feels good. In a study of over 1,700 women volunteers, scientists described the experience of a ‘helpers’ high’. This was the euphoric feeling, followed by a longer period of calm, experienced by many of the volunteers after helping. These sensations result from the release of endorphins, and is followed by a longer-lasting period of improved emotional well-being and sense of self-worth, feelings that in turn reduce stress and improve the health of the helper…
Studies of the brain now show that when we give money to good causes, the same parts of the brain light up as if we were receiving money ourselves (or responding to other pleasurable stimuli such as: food, money or sex)!
Giving to others activates the reward centres of our brains which make us feel good and so encourage us to do more of the same. Giving money to a good cause literally feels as good as receiving it, especially if the donations are voluntary.
3. Giving does you good
Giving help has a stronger association with mental health than receiving it. Studies have shown that volunteers have fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety and they feel more hopeful…
Giving may increase how long we live. Studies of older people show that those who give support to others live longer than those who don’t.
In another article about giving called “Happiness Comes from Giving, Not Buying and Having”, Dr Steve Taylor from Leeds Beckett University says:
Once our basic material needs are satisfied (i.e. once we’re assured of regular food and adequate shelter and a basic degree of financial security), wealth only has a negligible effect on well-being. For example, studies have shown that, in general, lottery winners do not become significantly happier than they were before, and that even extremely rich people – such as billionaires – are not significantly happier than others. Studies have shown that American and British people are less contented now than they were 50 years ago, although their material wealth is much higher…
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 practice volunteering have shown that they have better psychological and mental health and increased longevity. The benefits of volunteering have been found to be greater than taking up exercise, or attending religious services – in fact, even greater than giving up smoking.
Another study found that, when people were given a sum of money, they gained more well-being if they spent it on other people, or gave it away, rather than spending it on themselves. This sense of well-being is more than just feeling good about ourselves – it comes from a powerful sense of connection to others, an empathic and compassionate transcendence of separateness, and of our own self-centredness…
We would do well to heed the words of the American Indian, Ohiyesa, speaking of his Sioux people:
‘It was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be overcome. Its appeal is to the material part, and if allowed its way, it will in time disturb one’s spiritual balance. Therefore, children must early learn the beauty of generosity. They are taught to give what they prize most, that they may taste the happiness of giving.’
Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundations is holding its end of the financial year ‘Help the Children Appeal’. Help us help more children grow up with involved, responsible, committed and loving fathers. To date we have received an offer of $13,000 as matching funds by some generous donors. On top of this offer we have received $1,350 in donations to the end of year tax deductible appeal which becomes $2,700 because of the matching funds.
Our goal as stated last week is $75,000 by the end of June 2015. Only $72,300 to go! Together we can make a difference.
Your donation will help put a smile on the face of our children as we skill and encourage fathers to be the best possible fathers for their children. Help our children! Every donation is tax deductible. Donate NOW.