With the holidays fast approaching, there are many opportunities to give to help those who less fortunate, either because they don’t have enough financially or because they lack the family, friends, and support they need to be happy. Santas stand by storefronts and ring bells for a charitable cause. Food shelters increase the amount of food donations and volunteers they need. Non-profit projects like Toys for Tots start fundraising.
Almost everyone agrees that it’s “good” to give to those less fortunate. But not everyone thinks about how giving to those who are less fortunate can actually give the giver something too. Being generous can increase your mental health and wellness, besides helping those you’re giving!
It Promotes Mental Health
Giving to others has been shown to make you feel less stressed out and more connected with others in your community. Because of this, selfless service and giving can help defeat isolation, depression, and loneliness.
It Uplifts Your Spirits
Giving to others releases a “happiness hormone,” oxytocin, into our systems. When we give our time or money to a charitable cause to help someone, we feel warmth, connection, and euphoria.
It Improves Physical Wellness
It Gives Meaning and Joy
Generosity gives your life a new purpose and promotes a deeper feeling of satisfaction and joy. And, generosity is contagious! If you start giving, you may influence others in your community to be more charitable.
It Fosters Happy Relationships
Generosity encourages gratitude in both giver and receiver. Gratitude is considered to be a key element of happiness and good relationships. With all these benefits, it’s no wonder people love to give!
Being generous doesn’t being and end with the holiday season! There are people who need your generosity all throughout the year. There are so many great ways you can give this holiday season, or anytime of the year! Here are 10 suggestions to get you started –
1. Clean out your closet and donate the things you don’t want or need
2. Serve at a soup kitchen or food bank
3. Donate time or money to your favorite local charity or cause
4. Make and send care packages to military personnel
5. Volunteer at a homeless shelter
6. Become a member of a local nonprofit organization or charitable group
7. Get involved in improving your community by cleaning the streets or parks
8. Visit or send cards to a Senior Home or Assisted Living Center
9. Bring your pet to the hospital to brighten someone’s day! (Check with your hospital
first! They may require training beforehand!)
10. Teach English as a Second Language to first generation Americans and refugees
If you feel you may need professional help you to get to brighter tomorrow filled with kindness and generosity, a psychotherapy session with a trained counselor may help you shift your perspective and gain the tools you need to improve your life!