Whether you’re donating ten dollars to a charity or ten thousand dollars, we all know the fuzzy feeling that builds up in your stomach and fills your chest with warmth. An act of gift giving is not only good for the recipient, but can also improve the giver’s health – a perfect example of the old saying ‘what comes around goes around’!
That feel-good feeling
One of the biggest benefits of philanthropic work is its ability to produce positive emotions for the benefactor. This emotion has been dubbed the “warm glow” effect by Jorge Moll and his colleagues at the National Institute of Health (United Sates) in a 2006 study that found when individuals donated to charities, the region in their brain that associates pleasure, trust and social connection is activated. This finding is also supported by a 2008 study conducted by Professor Michael Norton and his colleagues at the Harvard Business School. This study found that participants’ happiness increased when they gave money to someone else, rather than spending it on themselves.
The physical effect
Another side effect of giving is the positive impact it can have on your physical health and longevity. A study by the Clinical Psychological Science journal (United Sates) in 2015 found that philanthropic work helps to relieve stress. Similarly, a 2006 study by Johns Hopkins University and the University of Tennessee, found that individuals who regularly participated in philanthropy had lower blood pressure then the individuals who did not. These studies suggest that giving can improve health by reducing stress and lowering blood pressure, which also supports longevity.
Finding philanthropic ways to give back is not only mentally and physically beneficial for the individuals involved but it also helps to build connections within the community. By volunteering, donating or supporting an organisation you are able to get involved and meet a range of individuals you may not have otherwise met. In a study conducted by
Creative Partnerships Australia, it was found that giving in a group setting helped to build and grow stronger communities in Australia. This study also found that members of groups who donated consistently had an increased sense of well-being.
With so many great effects of philanthropy, what is your motivation to give?