Every holiday season, there are some of us who ask, “is it all really worth it?” Yes, finding a meaningful gift for family members can certainly be a chore at times, and the holidays can be stressful for some people. If you’ve been wondering whether it’s all worthwhile, there is actually now scientific evidence available in favor of giving.
Neuroscientist Jorge Moll, who has been a Visiting Scholar at the Stanford Neuroscience Institute at Stanford University and who is also the President-director of the D’Or Institute for Research and Education in Rio de Janeiro, has found solid scientific evidence that giving is indeed good for the person who gives. Moll and many other neuroscientists have been researching the biological roots of why giving can make us feel good. Here are a few of the findings that support the impulse to give.
Giving Makes us Happy
A study conducted by the Harvard Business School found evidence that giving money to other people, whether to a charity or on a personal level, can bring on a real sense of happiness that can last for several weeks (http://reginadiass.com.br/2017/12/comprovacao-cientifica-de-jorge-moll-revela-que-bem-ativa-areas-do-cerebro/). Another study by Jorge Moll and his colleagues at the National Institute of Health found that giving to others stimulates the endorphins, which brings on a feeling of warmth and happiness. Those “good vibes” are one of the reasons that people do give generously to others. It just feels good!
Giving is Good For Your Health
A study that was conducted at the University of California at Berkeley in 1999 also backs up the findings by Jorge Moll regarding the benefits of giving generously. This study followed a group of elderly people who did volunteer work. After a five year period, it was found that the volunteering group had better health and longevity than those who didn’t.
Giving Keeps Us Connected
There are other studies that have shown that giving to others can strengthen our social connections with others, which definitely has health benefits. Those who volunteer and give to others naturally receive kindness and generosity back in kind, so the positive “boomerang” effect is a big positive attached to the act of giving (YouTube).
So, next holiday season, remember to take a lesson from Ebenezer Scrooge and don’t be a miser. Give generously and with heart, and you’ll feel better for it!