In a world where people are often looking out for themselves, it’s refreshing to hear that science agrees with the Bible. This is the case for the biblical belief that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” When giving to others, a person gains inner happiness and mental wellbeing. It is the human instinct to want to be happy, and when people can help someone else, they feel satisfied and fulfilled.
In the recent holidays, giving and receiving presents might have been on a lot of people’s minds. However, giving has more positive effects than receiving does. Whether it is donating to charity or simply giving one’s time, people are rewarded with happier emotions. Scientists have conducted studies about the effects of giving on mental health, and almost all of them show that giving has a beneficial impact on the mind of the giver.
A study published in Nature Communications by Park, S., Kahnt, T., Dogan, A. et al. in 2017 points out that generous behavior is known to increase happiness and wellbeing. They used resonance imaging to investigate brain mechanisms; studies demonstrate a relationship between generous behavior and increased happiness. The study concluded that in an independent decision-making exercise, the participants in the survey make more generous choices and have a more significant rise in happiness.
In other studies, giving, according to neuroscientific evidence, is an effective method for increasing one’s happiness while also enhancing one’s general health. The Happiness Trifecta is composed of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. Any action that causes an increase in the production of these neurochemicals will improve mental health, according to Eva Ritvo, M.D., a psychiatrist with about 30 years of expertise in the Miami Beach area of Florida.
It is easy to see why giving makes people happier because it allows them to do whatever they enjoy most. Some of the ways that people can give include, but are not limited to:
- Volunteering at a homeless shelter or local organization
- Assisting friends or family with work around the home
- Taking an elderly neighbor grocery shopping
- Carrying groceries for a stranger
- Donating to charity
Although this generosity is practiced among even the most religious of people, it may be especially important for those who do not regularly attend church or engage in other religious practices. For them, giving allows a sense of community and belonging by encouraging a person to reach out.
Giving unconditionally to others is a chance for people to reflect on what they have done well. This boosts self-esteem and provides the giver with a greater sense of purpose in life. The results of this line of thinking are more substantial, more positive feelings about oneself that then lead to an increase in confidence. It is worth noting that giving may not only boost the mood of the giver but also help others who receive it. For example, many families give to food banks before the holidays because they know that people who are unable to afford a high-quality dinner will benefit from receiving donated items.
The key to giving is that the giver does it for the sake of giving, not to receive anything back. Being able to give unconditionally and without expecting anything in return is a way for people to focus on what they can do with their time instead of dwelling on personal problems. The benefits of giving, such as greater empathy, reduced stress, and enhanced happiness, add up fast.
Giving serves as a very basic evolutionary advantage because it helps ensure the survival of the species. Whenever humans help someone else, they also help themselves. People who give to charities and family members alike are more likely to live longer lives than those who do not engage in giving at all. For people with chronic illnesses or disabilities, giving may be even more helpful because it boosts one’s resilience and determination to live longer. This may be partly because giving encourages the use of cognitive-behavioral strategies that also help reduce depression and anxiety. Additionally, people who give unconditionally are less likely to make mistakes when they do not know what to expect from the situation.
Above all, giving strengthens the ability to trust other people. This may be because giving is inherently tied with other people, so it creates the opportunity for personal interactions that allow one to develop trusting relationships. The results of this are good feelings about oneself and others who are involved in the act of giving.
It has been scientifically proven that giving is a blessing. People who engage in charitable actions are more resistant to chronic illness, feel greater happiness and purpose in their lives, and live longer than those who do not give at all. Furthermore, some benefits go beyond mental health; people experience physical health benefits as well as social connections with those around them.
Scientists conclude that giving is more than a biblical belief; it is a fact that putting others before oneself leads to increased resilience and health among populations.