Giving of Your Gifts

Giving of Your Gifts

Remember the last time you received a gift from a close friend, loved one or significant other. How did it make you feel? Did you get excited, grin from ear-to-ear, or feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

We’ve all experienced the pleasure that comes from receiving gifts, but did you know that giving gifts can bring even more wonderful feelings, in addition to some health benefits? You’ve probably heard the adage “It is better to give than receive” and studies show that there’s some truth to the common phrase. What’s more, the gift doesn’t always have to be large or of great monetary value, and it can take on many different forms. Gifts can be as simple as kind words, hugs, expressions of appreciation, undivided time and attention, a helping hand, volunteerism or random acts of kindness. Mother Teresa said, "It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving."

Gift-giving and helping others (without expecting anything in return) is associated with positive rewards, including:

  • Increased release of oxytocin producing a euphoric feeling known as the “helper’s high”
  • Sense of satisfaction and fulfilment
  • Stronger social relationships
  • Improved mental and physical health
  • Increased longevity
  • Decreased hypertension, secondary to stress
  • Less selfishness
  • Enhanced positive outlook on life

In this season of giving, take time to consider the words of Kahlil Gibran as you make your gift-giving decisions, “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

Emory Healthcare - Employee Hardship Donation Program

Emory University - Employee Hardship Donation Program

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References:

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/5_ways_giving_is_good_for_you

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/how-happiness

http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/02/06/doing-for-others-also-benefits-health-of-altruistic/51274.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ornish-living/science-shows-that-kindne_1_b_6474396.html

http://www.pnas.org/content/103/42/15623.full