Happiness Club Articles

Happiness Club – Giving

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give – Winston Churchill

How does it make you feel when you help others?
Have you ever felt resentful when giving? Why was that?
What can you do to give easily every day?

We had an interesting, uplifting and lively discussion on what makes giving so important to our happiness – and the happiness of others.

Helping others boosts our happiness by improving our mood and psychological wellbeing, increasing life satisfaction, giving us a feeling of competence, reducing stress and making us feel part of something bigger – providing a sense of meaning and connectedness with others – thus satisfying a basic human need.

Here is the science bit:
Have you heard of the “Helper’s High”? Scientists have shown that helping others activates reward centres in our brains producing a state of happiness, contentment and calm. Interestingly, those effects are greater in helpers than in those being helped. The good news is that happiness is “contagious” – when we are on the receiving end of kindness or spend time with kind and thoughtful people, we are more likely to be kinder ourselves. Thus creating a virtuous cycle of kindness. Which in turns helps to build supportive, more trusting and happier communities.

However, giving must not be forced or overly burdensome or purely for selfish reasons (such as expecting something in return).

Giving to others need not be a huge commitment – a simple smile can have a transformative effect on another. Our attitude and physiology (how we carry ourselves) also have a big impact.

Take one minute now – stand up, spread your shoulders back opening your chest, breathe in deep and breathe out three times, remember last time you helped someone and they appreciated your help, take yourself back to what that was like – what did you see, hear and feel? How do you feel now?

So to conclude, make giving a habit – focus on what you enjoy doing, drawing on your strengths and talents; often small things can make a big difference; remember to acknowledge and thank others for their kindness – it is never too late!

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted – Aesop

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