The Rewards Of Giving

Ahh, giving. It’s not just for the holidays!

Of course, the holidays are the first thing people think of when it comes to giving. However, there’s a lot of science to suggest that it’s a good thing to do all year ’round. Here are some of the surprising benefits of being charitable and giving:

1) It fosters cooperation and encourages others to give! – One of the best ways to turn a random collection of people into a cohesive team is to be giving. Freely share information across traditional boundaries. Bring donuts in the morning. Give small gifts and tokens of appreciation. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but the simple act of doing it will encourage others to do the same, and promote a happier, healthier environment.

2) It increases your own happiness – This is according to a 2008 study conducted by the Harvard School of Business. The researchers discovered that giving money or some other small gift increased the happiness of the participants more than simply spending the money on themselves did. That’s because giving releases a hormone called oxytocin in the brain, the very same hormone that gets released during sex!

3) It improves your physical health, too! – Yep, you read that correctly. The simple act of giving makes you healthier. There have been a variety of studies to support this, including one conducted by the University of California, which found that elderly people who did volunteer work were significantly less likely to die over an extended (five-year) period than those who did not.

If that’s not enough, another study conducted in 2006 by Johns Hopkins University found that people who provided gifts and support to one another had notably lower blood pressure than those who did not.

The bottom line is that generosity really is the gift that keeps on giving, and it’s something you can start doing today!