Are you Giving Enough?
Are you giving enough? I’m not talking about guilt-induced giving (giving because you think you should), or over-giving to others (because you have a hard time giving to yourself), or tax-break-inspired giving (because you want to save yourself money). I’m talking about healthy giving…when you give your time, energy and/or money to someone in need because your heart is moved. You may be surprised to learn that this kind of compassionate giving is loaded with benefits for YOU!
Here’s the tip. Notice what answer came to mind when you read the question at the beginning of this column. If your answer was yes, you’re likely already reaping the rewards of your giving…feeling pretty good. If your answer was no… No Blame.
If you’re not giving enough now, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed and stressed to the max about your own situation. You may feel so depleted you imagine you have nothing left to give. However, after you’ve done as much as you can to alleviate your own pain, you may want to consider finding some small way of giving to add to your own recovery plan.
Research shows giving produces endorphins, those body-made pain reducers. Giving also lowers blood pressure, increases self-esteem, decreases depression, increases happiness, and even extends your life span. Giving lights up the same area of the brain that food, sex, or any experience of pleasure does. Finally, giving stimulates the brain areas involved in taking action…increasing our sense of motivation to participate in life. What a joyous confluence: heartfelt giving is good for others and so good for you.