You’ve probably heard the phrase “It’s better to give than to receive” before. Giving often comes in the form of financial donations, volunteer work, or presents. However, giving can be as simple as small things we do daily that make an impact on the people around us. It doesn’t always have to be a grand, formal gesture.
This month, Dr. Gray and her team are focusing on the impact of giving and the importance of contributions as part of their getting back to the basics 2022 series.
The Power of Giving and Receiving
There is no doubt that the act of giving is often celebrated and has a positive impact on the receiver. The act of giving evokes a positive feeling and emotion for both the giver and receiver. This exchange not only has a powerful impact on the relationship you have with others, but also with yourself. Giving is directly linked to an individual’s:
- Social bonds
While it is common to expect these positive feelings and emotions from formal or grand gestures of giving, this can be a result of something that you do daily. Some of the daily, small actions we take every day have a positive impact on the people around us.
For Dr. Gray, these things are as simple as chiropractic services to help someone not have a headache or wellness services to help a patient play with their kids outside for the first time in years. For others, this could be smiling at a stranger or buying coffee for the person behind you in line. These small gestures of giving create a large impact for those around us.
Mental Health Benefits of Giving
We all want to belong. Belonging gives us an enhanced sense of purpose and self-esteem and makes us feel valued and appreciated. Regardless of what giving looks like to you, when you feel like you are making a contribution to society, you feel an increase in your sense of purpose. This feeling contributes to your mental, physical, psychological, and emotional health.
A tremendous amount of satisfaction can result from giving. These actions not only lead to a greater sense of self-esteem, life satisfaction, and sense of purpose, but also can automatically link us to a person, cause or the greater good. A study by Lewis Turiano et al. found that being connected to a larger purpose that creates meaning to our mental health resulted in measurable cognitive benefits for participants ranging from their teens all the way into their eighties. The result of those who felt they had a greater sense of purpose had more positive self-image and self-esteem.
Any act of altruism – a selfless act of giving to others – is connected to positive physical and mental effects. This includes:
- Lower blood pressure
- Increased self-esteem
- Lower chances of depression
- Lower stress levels
- Longer life
- Greater happiness
While giving is important to your mental health, it is also important to be able to receive. Having a hard time receiving from others may result in feelings of anger, resentment, and burnout. Keep in mind, you can not pour from an empty cup; you need to be able to recharge. The better you become at receiving, the better you become at giving.
Being kind can make a difference on someone’s day. Small gestures of kindness and giving count just as much as the grand gestures. Health forms of giving, including giving from a place of love and giving without expecting anything in return, have a ripple effect and can inspire positivity, change, and healing.
Rather than thinking about what she has not done, Dr. Gray writes down all the things she accomplished each day. Taking the time to think about how you could have impacted someone – this could be as simple as smiling at someone in the grocery store or paying for someone’s coffee – allows you to express gratitude.
No matter how you experience gratitude, giving thanks and reflecting on the impact we have had on someone’s day can make us happier.
Did you miss last month’s blog that focused on the importance of creating family or community relationships? Check it out here!