I am a crafter. I craft any and all things because it is a great way for me to relieve stress, plus I am intuitively good at it. I usually give gifts and crafts all year long, but this past holiday season, I hand sewed 32 scarves from fabric that I handpicked myself (If I could have made the fabric myself, believe me, I would have). Granted, I spent about $300 on all of the supplies needed, which was a grip! But if you really think about it, I spent less than $10 per person, which is a preeeeeetty good.
As I finished the last scarf, I began to think to myself, “Why am I doing this?” Welp! The answer is simple—I love the gift of giving. Not only does it give me satisfaction to know that I am giving, but it makes it even MORE special that the item is personalized and specific for that individual. It truly does put me in great spirit.
So, what about you? How do you feel when you give the gift of giving? The Greater Good Science Center, based at the University of California at Berkeley, shares with us some ways that giving is good for you and your community:
- Giving makes us feel happy. Research shows that when someone gives something that is nice for someone else, it activates parts of the brain that is associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust. Endorphins are also released in the brain that creates an overall positive feeling.
- Giving is good for our health. Research has connected different forms of giving to having better health. Researchers think this is due to the act of giving, which decreases stress.
- Giving promotes cooperation and social connection. Several studies suggest that people who give are more likely to be rewarded by others and sometimes by the person you gave to. This helps create trust and a higher sense of interdependence.
- Giving evokes gratitude. ‘Counting your blessings’ can illicit feelings of gratitude, which research shows, is essential to health, happiness, and social connections.
- Giving is contagious. Giving inspires others to want to give. A study showed that when one person gives, it inspires observers to want to give later and to different people.
So, considering all of the health benefits and how easy it is to give—big or small—try to give often!