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Why generosity is good for you
Giving your time, expertise or money to others can benefit your own life as much as it helps others.
At Lentune, our mission is to help businesses free up time and mental energy to refocus on what matters. We’ve identified three pillars of focus – business, wellbeing, and contribution – to regularly share thoughts and tips around. These are things that matter to us as a business.
Contribution has been on our minds a lot lately. We’ve been thinking about the importance of giving (whether that’s time, expertise or money) and how we can do more of it as a business. Now, logic would have us think that giving is most beneficial for the receiver. But it also makes us as the giver feel good. Studies have found that giving to others can have as much of an impact on your own life as it does on others. Here's a rundown of three ways in which generosity can benefit you.
The benefits of giving
Money really can buy you happiness – when you give it to others! 2016 research by Jorge Moll and colleagues used MRIs to investigate what went on in the brain when study participants donated to causes of their choice. They found that charitable donations activated the mesolimbic pathway, a reward centre in the brain – increasing levels of dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin – all the feel-good chemicals.
Psychology researchers Ed O’Brian and Samantha Kassirer have also shown that the happiness we get from giving doesn’t diminish as fast as the happiness we get from receiving. In other words, the joy of giving usually feels fresh every time, while other experiences bring less happiness each time they’re repeated.
2. Connection & belonging
Social connection – the feeling that you belong to a group and feel close to other people – is a need that’s hardwired into humans. In psychologist Matthew Lieberman’s book Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect, his research reveals that our need to connect with others is so important that it’s actually a primary driver of our behaviour.
Giving to a cause that aligns with your values is a great way to feel connected to others. In the Tindall Foundation’s 2016 Inspiring Generosity survey, 69% of respondents said that giving provided them with “a greater sense of connection and belonging”. So why not join a community group, volunteer your time or expertise, or organise a fundraising event? You’ll be doing good, as well as creating stronger links with your community and increasing connections with people who share your values.
There are five simple actions that are scientifically proven to lift your wellbeing – Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, and Give. These Five Ways to Wellbeing were developed by the New Economics Foundation (NEF), as the result of a commission by the UK government in 2008. They’ve since been adapted for use in New Zealand by The Mental Health Foundation.
Considering the positive effects of giving that we’ve already discussed above, it’s not really a surprise that Give is one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing. Giving doesn’t have to be a big gesture to improve your wellbeing. Small acts of kindness like saying thank you, doing something nice for a friend or colleague or giving a smile can all help to increase a general sense of wellbeing.
Giving really is a win-win activity – it’s beneficial for you and helps others at the same time. We hope you feel inspired to find more ways to give, big and small. And remember to graciously accept generosity from others when it’s offered, otherwise you’re denying that person all the benefits of giving.
Christmas 2021 is fast approaching, and Lentune are supporting Foster Hope this festive season. Foster Hope is a charity supporting children throughout New Zealand who are in foster care. Their annual Christmas Gift Drive collects new, unwrapped presents for children in care over Christmas. We've committed to donating gifts to the value of $100 for every new Lentune customer signed in November.