GIVE TO LIVE! – the benefits and ways of generosity.

Generosity is good for you.

Generosity and life expectancy are among the six variables scientists look at when making the World Happiness Report, which is released annually by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations.

Giving, or true generosity, can be described as the act of recognising the mutual dignity inherent in all life, and then working to balance the evolving empowerment of life.

Put simply, giving from the heart.

We are biologically ‘wired’ for generosity – in our childhood we are reliant on the giving of others, as we grow older generosity to others is a good way to balance and ‘give back’.

Being generous does more than benefit the receiver, it has a big impact on our well-being and, not surprisingly, studies show that one of the biggest benefactors of ‘giving’ is the person who gives – YOU!

The feel-good effects of giving begin in the brain. The effect is  called “giver’s glow,” its the response being triggered by brain chemistry in the mesolimbic pathway, which recognizes rewarding stimuli.

Philanthropy “doles out several different happiness chemicals,” says Stephen G. Post, director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics at New York’s Stony Brook University of Medicine, “including dopamine, endorphins that give people a sense of euphoria and oxytocin, which is associated with tranquillity, serenity or inner peace.” Generosity also lowers the risk of dementia and reduces anxiety and depression. As Post says “If you were somehow able to package this into a compound, you’d be a billionaire overnight”.

As well as making us feel good, giving and being generous can reduce blood pressure and the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol – helping provide that ‘lift’ in mood. And that’s not all – giving can enhance our sense of purpose and increase the givers life span.

That’s right, giving and living longer are connected.

The good news is that we all have something to give, and giving allows us to align our actions with our values.

It doesn’t matter how large or small the gifting is, or the nature of it. What does matter is that we recognise the need to give, and care enough to do so, even if it’s just a smile.

Hopefully having read this you are inspired to give giving a go. Here are some inspirations for you:

 Participate in a community cleanup day.
 Become a mentor for a young person.
 Serve meals at a local soup kitchen.
 Help at the local hospital.
 Visit an elderly neighbour.
 Donate items to a homeless shelter.
 Donate clothes and household goods to a thrift store.
 Give to charities or ‘profit for purpose’ groups like Ability life.
 Shop or clean the home of a sick friend.
 Organize a fundraising morning tea for a local charity.
 Put your change in a jar and donate it next month.
 Volunteer some time at your church or community centre.
 Practice random acts of kindness.
 Create a SHAREBOX by your letterbox and invite neighbours to put in their spare produce, used books etc.
 Visit a nursing home – chat or take your dog along if you can.
 Offer to pay someone’s bill next time you’re buying coffee.
 Cook someone a meal.
 Give time or money to a local charity.
 Call family or friends you haven’t spoken with for a while.
 Give a stranger a compliment.
 SMILE at people – anywhere, anytime.

So let’s give to live, give to be healthy, give to be happy – and give abundantly, simply because it’s a good thing to do.

P.S. Read our page on Giving here …