3 Scientific Reasons Why Giving Makes You Happy

By Logeetha Balakrishnan

Ever notice that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you surprise someone with a gift? Or when you give some donations to the needy?  Your heart feels satiated and you feel like you were part of something bigger than yourself.  *But it’s so fun to get presents!!* Yes I hear you there, but it is much more satisfying to give presents and deep down we all know it.

1.       Giving cultivates gratitude.

As we all know, one of the best ways to be happy is to express gratitude for the little things in life. Giving or receiving a gift can bring about a feeling of thankfulness; meaning it’s a way of instilling gratitude in yourself and the recipient. In a research by Robert Emmons and Michael MuCullough, they found that teaching students to ‘count their blessings’ made them more optimistic about life and have a better attitude towards life overall. Besides, cultivating gratitude in everyday life increases personal happiness according to Barbara Fredrickson a distinguished professor of psychology.


2.       Giving stimulates the happy chemical in your brain and creates a ripple effect

Just like when giving hugs or having chocolates, the hormone oxytocin likes to show up when you give. It induces a feeling of warmth, satisfaction, a heightened sense of connection towards others and even euphoria.  According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, when a person behaves generously, the observers had a higher tendency to mimic this behavior later towards other people. It doesn't just stop there; they found that generosity could spread by three degrees, meaning each person in a network can potentially start a chain reaction that affects dozens or even hundreds of people.


3.       Giving brings about a feeling of abundance

When you give generously, you start encouraging an abundance mindset that allows you to give and receive freely. The opposite of this would be the scarcity mindset where you believe there are a lot of limits and you start to form resistance towards the idea of giving or sharing. This is when hoarding and clinging to something happens, when you believe that resources are limited.  You may wonder that if you really do not have enough money or belongings to give, how is it possible to give it away? Here, you must also realize that giving does not mean only material goods but also your time and abilities. Giving up your weekends for a good cause would be a great way to give back, make you feel grateful for what you have, create a sense of abundance, and in the end leave you a much happier person.


Image Source: Huffington Post