Hope y’all are staying warm out there. I am not a fan of cold weather (I know, I know, but I don’t really care for the change of seasons and would much prefer it be 80 degrees always.) But we are also about to get into a) my birthday, and b) the holidays! (the lights! the gift giving! it’s so energizing). So. I clearly have a love-hate relationship with December.
Anyway. Let’s talk about gifts + generosity.
The holiday season is not only a time of celebration, but a time of giving. Creative gift ideas and ways to help people in need can be found everywhere this time of year, and I’m sure many of you really enjoy the feeling you get when someone lights up after opening your gift or you no-strings-attached donate to a local community group.
Why make it a seasonal thing?
Should we be giving all year round?!
Generosity is something that we are ALL capable of. That’s what makes it so fascinating. All we have to do is make the choice to put another person before our own self. (Side note. I’m a BIG believe in self-care because many of you fine ladies give TOO much to other people and not enough to yourself. What we are talking about here is giving to someone other than your J.O.B. or household duties in a way that makes you feel good. OK?)
So, why don’t we give year-round?
Are we fearful of the consequences? Insecure? Selfish?
Guess what? Research (actual research that I’ve read. I’m not just saying “research says” LOL) shows that generosity will not only benefit others, but it will benefit the giver as well. AKA, YOU!
The Science of Generosity Initiative at Notre Dame is one of the most comprehensive studies of Americans’ giving habits ever conducted. It concluded that:
those who volunteer are happier than those who do not
those who donate a portion of their expenses have lower depression rates than those who do not
and those who are emotionally giving in relationships are in better health than those who are not (A)
They argue that generosity involves neurochemical changes in the brain. It gives people more pleasure chemistry in their brain, a sense of reward for having done something good. (A)
To go into more detail.. when you give, you get a boost of “feel good” endorphins (the same ones associated with exercise and sugar) and oxytocin (when you in looooooove) that lowers stress and makes you feel more empathy and connection to others. These amazing “side effects” of generosity can last up to 2 hours! 2 HOURS! (B)
All this to say. Try experimenting with some random acts of kindness this month and beyond.
-Write a thank-you note to someone. Anyone.
-Invite a neighbor or colleague over for dinner
-Offer your seat to someone else on a crowded train
-Give more compliments!
-If you walk by a car with an expired parking meter, put a quarter in it
-Purging? Give away stuff for free.
-Put sticky notes with positive slogans on the mirrors in restrooms
Need some more inspiration? Check out “21 Ways To Be A Little More Giving This Season”