No matter who you are, where you are in life, or what you have—giving to others is a sure way to uplift your spirit. It doesn’t have to be a wild, overly charitable gesture. Anything from a shared smile or a compliment paid can make all the difference. If you’ve ever experienced this type of gratification from simple exchange, you might understand that giving feels right.
Where the Warmth Comes From
What is it about giving that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy, though? Some implications say giving to others can not only feel good but promote good health and longevity.
The Science of Giving
Giving to others can result in what is referred to as “Helper’s High.” The concept was discovered in a study by neuroscientist Jorge Moll at the National Institute of Health (NIH). It was found that the reward system in the brain was activated in people who engaged in donations and charity.
What occurs in the brain is a release of the pleasurable neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, as well as endogenous opioids. These chemicals in the brain feel similar to what the brain experiences when exposed to exercise, food, drugs, and sexual stimulation.
Another study uncovered that older adults who volunteered for two or more organizations were 44 percent less likely to die over five years than those who did not. This is apart from the fact that those studied were in optimal health condition.
When we help others, there is a bond formed. There is a sense of union and comradery that comes with the unnecessary exchange of kindness. Sometimes it can catch others by surprise, instilling a sense of warmth that they were not expecting and allowing them to view you in a different light.
Other times, people are pleased and therefore act with positive nature that, in turn, can affect your mood and vice versa.
The connection that occurs during giving can also instill a sense of gratitude. Have you ever experienced a moment of giving something that you considered to be no big deal but made all the difference to someone else?
Gratitude from giving only promotes a happier, healthier day. Out of the many reasons to give, feeling good is one backed by science, which is pretty awesome.