Every year as the holidays approach, people across the country dig a little deeper into their wallets, pockets, closets, and hearts to spread holiday cheer in the form of generosity. Generosity comes in many shapes and sizes, from money and possessions to time, encouragement, and attention. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen or food pantry, donating winter clothes to a homeless shelter, or slipping a few bills into the red Salvation Army bucket outside of the grocery store, people set aside their differences, come together, and embrace “giving good things to others freely and in abundance.”(1)
It is unmistakable that generosity helps others that are less fortunate at any given time. But did you know that giving is good for the giver as well as the receiver? Studies show giving has many physical and mental health benefits including lowering blood pressure, reducing stress levels, raising self-esteem, lengthening your life-span, and generally leading to greater happiness. So, when you give, you receive in a rich, fulfilling way.(2)
This happiness and other related positive feelings – sometimes referred to as “giver’s glow” or “helper’s high” – are the result of a chemical change in our brains that happens when we embrace generosity and choose to give time, money, and more to others. Here’s how it works: the action of giving stimulates the brain’s reward system called the mesolimbic pathway, and the brain responds by secreting endorphins (or “feel-good” chemicals) like serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin.(2)
With a clear positive impact for both the giver and the receiver, generosity towards others is truly the best investment you can make, and will no doubt be plentifully shared as the holidays are upon us!
One way YOU can show generosity this year is by helping us provide more holiday meals. Thanks to Epsilon, Conversant, and the Triolo family, your gift will be matched before December 31st to DOUBLE your donation, helping your generosity stretch even farther to reach even more people. Every $1 donated provides $16 worth of nutritious food.
A holiday meal is not a guarantee for everyone! Give what matters…dinner on every table so no one has to be hungry this holiday season.
(1) RKD // AgencyND // University of Notre Dame. “Science of Generosity.” What Is Generosity? // Science of Generosity // University of Notre Dame.
(2) Team, Brain and Spine. “Wanna Give? This Is Your Brain on a ‘Helper’s High’.” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 18 Nov. 2016.