Go Ahead, Give it Away - Why Giving is Good for Your Health
“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver,” Maya Angelou.
Whether you listen to Ms. Angelou or your mom, December is a month where we are encouraged to think of others, more than any other month of the year. With the holidays, just around the corner, here at Kaizen Naturals® we’ve decided to kick off the soul liberating with a holiday contest.
In fact, in his 2008 book Why Good Things Happen to Good People, Stephen Post, a professor of preventative medicine at Stony Brook University, reports giving to others has a direct correlation to the state of our health; research suggests giving may improve our physical well-being and longevity by decreasing stress, often associated with a variety of health problems.
So go ahead and dole out the hugs, treat a colleague to a coffee, hold open the door for another, plunk money in an expired meter. Not only will you make someone’s day, you’ll feel great.
Best of all, giving is not simply good for us, it’s also contagious. True story! When we give, it often multiplies. We spur a ripple effect of generosity through our communities, including ourselves, when we give.
Law of Attraction? Karma? Whatever you wish to label it, you don’t have to go far to see the dominos effect of giving. Just stop by a Tim Horton’s over the holidays, where many times over, a driver has paid for the person in line behind him or her.
A study by James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego, and Nicholas Christakis of Harvard, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, shows that when one person behaves generously, it inspires others to behave generously later.
Equally beneficial, giving has also been linked to the release of oxytocin, a hormone that induces feelings of warmth, euphoria and connection to others.
So, whether you participate in a gift exchange, volunteer your time or donate money to your favourite charity this holiday, your giving is much more than a seasonal responsibility. Giving may decrease your cortisol levels and inspire those around you to also liberate their spirits. Oh, and don’t be surprised if your merriment expands the minds and hearts of others. Take it from us, giving just feels good.