Give more. Take Less. Period. That may be the foundation for finding true happiness in life. No? Well, have you tried yet? You'll be amazed!
But you don’t have to be rich to make a difference. Giving back does not have to be a financial contribution. Whether you donate money or time, giving back is beneficial--and not just for the recipients. Research has shown that the adage, “it’s better to give than to receive” is true after all.
Studies have shown a relationship between volunteering and increased self-esteem, with volunteers reporting both greater personal empowerment and better health. Doing for others may stimulate the release of endorphins, which has been linked to improved nervous and immune system functions, too.
Let's say you’re walking along the street when a scientist approaches you with a clipboard, an envelope, and a benevolent smile. Curious, you open the envelope: inside is either a $5 or $20 note. The scientist asks you to spend this money by 5 pm. You can purchase anything, but it must be for yourself.
You leave, bemused, and the scientist approaches another unwary participant. This person is given the same directions, except that this time, they’re invited to spend the money on someone else.
Which situation do you think would make you the happiest: spending money on yourself or on another?
Contrary to what most people think, researchers at the University of British Columbia found that people were happier when they spent the money on others. What’s more, there was no difference in happiness for the people who had $5 to give and the people who had $20 to give. The act of giving, no matter how big or small, makes us feel good.
However, studies have shown that giving for self-related reasons did not bring these health and psychological benefits to the giver. Only when giving was altruistic, driven by compassion towards and connection with others were individuals more likely to reap the benefits of giving.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.