“Feel good by doing good. By making a conscious effort to give back, it benefits both the giver and receiver.”

-Rose Caiola


How will you give back this year?

This time of year always makes me think about giving and gratitude. The holiday season acts as a reminder to be more altruistic, and while I encourage generosity all year-round, the busyness of life can sometimes make us forget.

It feels good to do things for others – even when it’s something as simple as holding the door open for a stranger, or giving up your seat for someone on the train. Don’t you notice when you do something kind or thoughtful for someone, you find yourself smiling more often? I know I do, and when that person smiles back in acknowledgement it makes my day complete.

Giving releases happiness chemicals in the brain

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Did you know selfless acts reduce stress and symptoms of depression? Well, they do! There have been numerous studies showing the positive effects of giving. Whether you volunteer your time, donate money or lend a helping hand to someone in need you will reap the benefits.

Giving back “doles out several different happiness chemicals,” according to Stephen G. Post, director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics at New York’s Stony Brook University. These chemicals include “dopamine, endorphins that give people a sense of euphoria and oxytocin, which is associated with tranquility, serenity or inner peace.”

Intentions matter

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Yours, of course! If you’re giving for the sake of giving – or simply going through the motions – you’re missing the point. A study in the journal Health Psychology found that participants who volunteered regularly lived longer, but only if their intentions were sincere; they had to be volunteering with the intention to help others—not with the goal of making themselves feel good. Get it?

The bottom line: give from your heart. Give with all you’ve got. In the wise words of Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”

How will you give back this year?


Rose Caiola

Inspired. Rewired.

 

 

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