Is giving actually better than receiving? Here’s why giving can actually make you happier, with science!
You may have heard the old saying “It’s better to give than to receive.” It’s been around for a while, and you may have used it yourself. But have you ever stopped to think about what it means? Sure, most of us know that it’s good to give. Whether that means a thoughtful birthday gift for a friend, or a donation to a favorite charity, it just feels good. But why?
How Giving Affects Your Brain
A lot of research has been done to find out why we give. What motivates us? Is it simply the desire to help, or is it the societal reward of approval and status? Does it help alleviate guilt for having so much when others have so little?
It depends. Each individual may have their own internal motivations for giving. Some may feel dutiful about it. Some may feel sympathy for the plight of another, and some may enjoy the way it makes them look to the outside world, generous and affluent enough to give.
Regardless of these reasons, giving has an effect on our brain. Our pleasure centers, which are activated by activities such as eating, sex, gambling, playing video games or surfing the internet, are also activated when giving. The act of giving releases the neurochemical dopamine, giving us that feel good glow.
How Much Doesn’t Matter
Experiments have been done that shows that people feel better after they spend money on others than they do when they spend it on themselves. The good feeling lasts longer, too. Not only that, but it doesn’t seem to matter how much you give. People reported feeling good whether they spent five dollars or twenty dollars.
It Has to Be a Choice
This is an important part of the equation. The giving must be voluntary. As an example, you pay taxes every year that contribute to good causes such as education, resources for the homeless and care for animals. However, sending that check in doesn’t necessarily result in a warm, fuzzy feeling. When people give of their own accord, they feel good.
It Doesn’t Have to Be Money
Although giving monetary support to a charity may make you feel good, you are not limited to monetary donations. Donating your time in the form of volunteer work is just as good, maybe even better. People who volunteer on a regular basis often report that their lives are overall more satisfying as a result of doing it. Again, it must be a choice, and ideally a cause or an organization you feel connected to.
Did you know you can actually give back by doing the things you already do each month? Bulu Box has partnered with Vitamin Angels so now when you buy select products (look for the red heart) Bulu Box or its brand partners will make a donation to Vitamin Angels. Vitamin Angels provides life saving and life changing vitamins to children, pregnant women, and new mothers in need.
Even small acts of giving time, money or donating food or clothing can activate the pleasure centers in the brain. In addition to helping worthy organizations or causes, giving can make you happier and more satisfied with your life, it’s a scientific fact!