Research Shows Generosity is Good for Us
It feels good to give back to a mission you believe in. Research shows generosity is good for us, and giving to others can make you happy.
“Helping is love made visible in acts of generosity small and large,” says best-selling author of Why Good Things Happen to Good People, speaker and Stony Brook professor, Stephen G. Post. This is one of his powerful “Ten Ways of Giving” that he believes are essential to a fulfilling life. Post’s research has shown that giving to others contributes to overall well-being and happiness.
Generosity is Good for Self-Esteem and Well-Being
Is it true that giving to others makes us feel better? Post defines well-being as “feeling hopeful, happy, and good about oneself, as well as energetic and connected to others.” Achieving all of this can take some effort, but research shows that giving to others may make it easier. According to Post, in a study done with people over the age of 65, it showed that those who volunteered in the past, scored higher in life satisfaction and had fewer symptoms of sickness. Those who did not volunteer proved to be sicker and unable to give to others. Like Post mentioned, feeling happy and connected to others are fundamental components to overall health. When we help others, we form bonds that are meaningful which then increases our happiness. (Tweet This Now) The satisfaction we get from giving prompts us to want to continue altruistic acts in the future. To have a healthy and kind society, we need more givers. Generosity is good for all.
Empowering Yourself and Others by Giving
Generosity lays a strong foundation for empowerment, because it inspires others to be compassionate and practice these behaviors. The giver and receiver both feel empowered and motivated to improve their lives. Post says, “When the happiness and security of others is as meaningful to you as your own, you are a person of love and you will flourish.” This empathetic outlook is beneficial to all parties, leading to greater self-worth and happiness.
Generosity is Contagious
Having a passion for helping others fuels a ripple effect. When one person gives, others will be more willing to do the same. (Tweet This Now) Post says, “Call it karma, call it the boomerang effect, call it the sea of life; the wisdom of the ages has it that actions on behalf of others have a payback feature: the benefits of unselfish acts revert back to the giver.” Think about the last time you performed a kind act. It probably felt good and prompted you to continue that behavior. The people affected by your actions may want to pay it forward with their own generosity. Post tells Operation Warm, “Role modeling is key. More than anything else. Seeing the details of a generous actions will encourage others to follow suit. More than anything, this is all about passing the torch from one person to another, and this is not done in any way other than by being a good role model.” Regardless of the extent of the kind act, it will inevitably affect someone. Giving to others is powerful and makes for happier, healthier people.
Post, Stephen G. “Altruism, happiness, and health: It’s good to be good.” International journal of behavioral medicine 12.2 (2005): 66-77.
It’s Good to Be Good; Steven Post