You most probably are well versed in the scriptures on ‘giving’ and the warm fuzzy feeling of being at the receiving end of gifts, but aside the spiritual and emotional benefits, research shows that there are health benefits of giving as well.
With so many occasions marked all the time, it is not surprising that you might want to take a rain check on being generous in the month of love. For those in relationships who are wondering why you should be feeling generous and kind to a loved one in this season, you should perhaps take a look at these amazing benefits of giving before making a final decision.
Ample evidence suggests that gift giving releases certain chemicals in our brains, such as serotonin (contributes to our well-being, happiness & mood balance), dopamine (regulates pleasure) and oxytocin (a love, compassion and bonding hormone). A high amount of oxytocin leads to acts of reciprocity and generosity, meaning that the more you give, the more you reinforce and boost your capacity to be generous and to appreciate. Further research links gift giving to empowering and boosting of one’s own self-esteem. The thought of being responsible even if partly, for another person’s happiness creates a deep sense of satisfaction.
So, go ahead and show kindness to someone. It could be a simple act of helping out with a task, opening the door for someone, giving compliments, helping a person in need and others. It will make you feel good about yourself.
Gifts don’t always have to come in wrapped up gift boxes. The best gifts are those you can’t see physically but feel. Humor is an important gift you can give to loved ones. The ability to make light of even the most difficult situation is a gift. Some studies reveal that laughter may increase antibodies to fight infection and boost immune cells. Make it your mission to put a smile on someone’s face and laughter in their mouth.
Stephen Post, head of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love (IRUL), in his book, Why Good Things Happen to Good People posits that forgiveness is the ultimate gift. Several studies conclude that forgiveness reduces anxiety, stress hormones and depression. You are likely to improve your health by forgiving more than being forgiven. The best gift you can give a loved one this love season is to forgive even those who forget to give you material gifts. Yes, that especially.
There, we have it. If you are in the habit of always receiving and not giving, you are probably reducing your life span by 60% or not. Wouldn’t it be nice to be a giver for a change? For those who always give, continue giving; the benefits far outweigh the damage. What have you got to lose?