Dr. Linda Mintle – Therapist & Author
Have you noticed how generous people can be when there is a felt need?
Giving opportunities exist on a daily basis in America. Someone goes through an illness and needs help with medical expenses, a family is homeless, or the church is sending an offering to an orphanage overseas. And lately, we have seen our share of natural disasters and hardships.
It’s always so encouraging to see the way people give sacrificially in order to help their neighbors in distress. Whether it is giving time, resources, money or talent, when we step into a need or help a weaker person, we are showing the best side of ourselves.
But, did you know that giving provides both physical and mental health benefits to the giver?
When we give, the “happiness hormones” in our body are activated. Those hormones and molecules responsible for mood, feeling reward and compassion all come on-line when the act of giving occurs. The warm glow we feel in giving is from this brain activation. The resulting feeling is stronger than a great night on the town or buying a new outfit! Giving blesses others but also makes the giver feel good.
Several studies support the fact that giving lowers blood pressure and reduces stress levels. According to a University of California Berkeley study, if you are 55 or older and give of your time as a volunteer, you lessen your chances of dying over a five-year period! And those who give social support to others do better when recovering from coronary-related events. There is power in giving. The physical body responds.
God designed us to give. Acts 20:35 says that it is more blessed to give than receive. As you can see, science certainly bears this out. As we get the focus off ourselves, see the needs around us and give unselfishly to others, we experience joy and contentment.
Think of it like this: giving is a win-win. You help others and in turn, your physical and mental health is helped. So, give, and give generously.