Nearly everyone is familiar with the old saying “Giving is better than receiving”. Though it might seem to be a way to get people to give donations, volunteer some of their time or just give a gift to someone, there is more truth to the saying than people realize.
Giving is good for your health and good health begins in your brain.
You might be wondering how it works. Your brain is your body’s control center and when it is fed, your body responds in accordance with how it is fed. Feeding does not always mean food, either.
Everything you do and think feeds the brain in one way or another.
How you feel when you do or think certain things tells you whether your brain is being fed in a way that promotes good overall mental and physical health. When you do or think something that gives you that warm glow of pleasure, your mind and body respond in a positive way.
Giving is one of the most positive ways to feed your brain.
When you give, certain chemicals are released in your brain.
One of these chemicals is called dopamine. It is what makes you have that feeling of warmth when giving. The area of the brain that releases dopamine can be seen as active in an MRI when a person gives a gift or a donation.
Another chemical that giving causes to be released in the brain is oxytocin. This chemical also gives you a warm feeling as well as a euphoric feeling.
That high feeling you get when you give can last for a couple of hours.
You also experience a stronger connection to others when oxytocin is released.
These brain chemicals not only make you feel good at the moment, they provide more lasting benefits. People who make a practice of giving become more self-confident, have more self-esteem and their physical health improves.
Givers are less likely to suffer from depression and often have fewer illnesses.
Pass it On
Giving feeds the brain and the brain responds with better health for the person as a whole, both mind and body. It can also be contagious.
Giving to someone often inspires that person to give to someone else. Giving instills gratitude, which also feeds the brain, in both the giver and the receiver. The two work hand in hand.
Another old saying is “Give until it hurts” but maybe a better saying would be “Give until it feels good”.
It certainly does feels good.
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