Five Reasons to Give

Five Reasons to Give

New studies prove the benefits of giving—not just for the recipients but for the givers. Of course, you don’t donate to reap the benefits of giving. You donate because you feel love for the cause. Tennessee Children’s Home is worthy of your love.

1.    Giving makes us feel happy.

A 2008 study by Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton and colleagues found that giving money to someone else lifted participants’ happiness more that spending it on themselves (despite participants’ prediction that spending on themselves would make them happier). In s 2006 study, Jorge Moll and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health found that when people give to charities, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect. Scientists also believe that altruistic behavior releases endorphins in the brain, producing the positive feeling known as the “helper’s high.”

2.   Giving is good for our health.

A 1999 study led by Doug Oman of the University of California, Berkeley, found that elderly people who volunteered for two or more organizations were 44 percent less likely to die over a five-year period than were non-volunteers.

Researchers suggest that one reason giving may improve physical health and longevity is that it helps decrease stress, which is associated with a variety of health problems. In a 2006 study by Rachel Piferi of Johns Hopkins University and Kathleen Lawler of the University of Tennessee, people who provided social support to others had lower blood pressure than participants who didn’t, suggesting a direct physiological benefit to those who give of themselves.

3.    Giving promotes cooperation and social connection.

When you give, you’re more likely to get back: Several studies have suggested that when you give to others, your generosity is likely to be rewarded by others down the line—sometimes by the person you gave to, sometimes by someone else. Some refer to this as “Paying it Forward”.

These exchanges promote a sense of trust and cooperation that strengthens our ties to others—and research has shown that having positive social interactions is central to good mental and physical health. What’s more, when we give to others, we don’t only make them feel closer to us, we also feel closer to them.

4.     Giving evokes gratitude.

Whether you’re on the giving or receiving end of a gift, that gift can elicit feelings of gratitude—it can be a way of expressing gratitude or instilling gratitude in the recipient. And research has found that gratitude is integral to happiness, health, and social bonds.

“Counting Your Blessings” and cultivate gratitude can cause us to exercise more, be more optimistic, and feel better about their lives overall.

5.      Giving is contagious.

When we give, we don’t only help the immediate recipient of our gift. We also spur a ripple effect of generosity through our community.

So, whether you are buying for our wish list, volunteering your time, or donating money to Tennessee Children’s Home, your giving is much more than just a monthly or yearly task. It may help you build stronger social connections and even jumpstart a cascade of generosity through your community. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself benefiting from a big dose of happiness in the process.

                                                                                                                         By Rebecca Mischke