Give and Get: Why Helping Others is Good For You

why giving is good for you

Give and Get: Why Helping Others is Good For You

Giving to others might be the ultimate win-win. Research has shown generosity has benefits for the giver. In fact, you could say giving to others is selfish. How’s that for a paradox?

Top 3 Reasons Why Giving is Good For You

 

You Get a “Helper’s High”

Helper’s high was discovered by Allan Luks. His research found people who help others are more likely to be in good health. This is caused, in part, by a release of endorphins.

Benefits of endorphins include:

  • Less perceived pain
  • Euphoria
  • Regulated appetite
  • A boost in sex hormones
  • Immune system support

Sounds pretty good, right? Endorphins are also released when we workout, eat chocolate and socialize.

You Can Finally Buy Happiness

We live in a material society. Fast fashion, comparison, constant marketing — these things fuel consumption. This affects the environment, our health, and human rights.

Sadly, our purchases don’t bring us happiness.

Imagine breaking the cycle and redirecting your spending to your community.

Helping others helps us build connections and relationships. It gives us a sense of purpose. It helps us develop new skills and use our skills to improve the world. These things are what happiness is made of.

Investing your time or money in helping your family, friends, neighbours and the greater community is the best deal you’ll find if you’re shopping for happiness.

You Can Build Power and Influence

In his book The Power Paradox, psychologist and power expert Dacher Keltner explains we gain power by a focus on the greater good. We begin to build a following.

You don’t need to have a formal power position to do this. It can happen at your workplace, within your community or school — anywhere you can create connections with others.

The Paradox

Unfortunately, once we become powerful, we have a tendency to lose the qualities that got us there in the first place. People may begin to focus more on themselves and on maintaining the power, and less on the community. That’s the paradox. Thankfully, Keltner says it’s possible to beat the tendency.

Risks of Giving

You can give too much of yourself. Passionate givers might end up with a lot to do, which can lead to increased stress or a lack of attention to your own needs. As you work to increase your focus on the greater good, pay attention to how you’re feeling so you don’t end up adding too much onto your plate or maintaining unhealthy relationships.

How to Increase Your Focus on The Greater Good

You’re already a giver in some way. There are many ways to give, and many of us do it instinctively. Take our quiz to find out what kind of giver you are, based on your tendencies.

You can give by spending time with family and friends, checking in, and supporting them throughout their lives. You could clean up the neighbourhood, strike up conversations with people in your community, smile.

Here are some ways to increase your giving if you want more of the win-win benefits of helping others:

  • Become a volunteer. Try to find something that will fit with your life, like helping to coach a team your child is part of. If you can give more time, consider supporting an agency serving vulnerable people in the local community. Find volunteer opportunities here. 
  • Become a regular financial supporter of an organization you believe in. Monthly donations provide a reliable funding source for organizations, letting them plan more effectively. We welcome monthly donors at United Way Simcoe Muskoka. 
  • Become educated and speak up. Be willing to use your influence to affect positive change. This doesn’t mean regurgitating rumours, headlines and sound bytes. It means becoming informed about an issue that interests you so you can help others become more informed. Attending talks, reading articles from a range of sources, and following thought leaders on social media are some ways you can begin to build your understanding.

We love to hear stories about how giving back has helped people. Share your story in the comments below or by tagging us in a social media post. Let’s work together to spread more good!