We are socially programmed to talk, play, and help one another. Part of being able to do this manifests in the desire to “give” to charity, particularly to charities that are near and dear to our hearts. Like one that involves children in your own backyard here on Long Island! The simple act of giving to others, whether doing something nice for a stranger, or helping someone that is less fortunate than you, or someone that is in need, changes your brain chemistry for the good, improves your feelings of well-being and makes the world a nicer place to live in.
So what gives us the warm glow when we give? Using MRI technology scientists have determined that when a person performs a charitable action their mid-brain lights up. This part of the brain is the same part that allows us to feel pleasure when we have chocolate. Giving releases endorphins and these interact with opiate receptors in your brain. When these neurochemicals are flowing, you get a feeling of euphoria and serotonin is triggered in the body. This chemical cocktail enables us to feel happy, while skipping through life with a more positive attitude. When they say you’re glowing, you are probably just basking in the aftermath of these hormones being released.
As part of living a happier life, you might want to try being more generous. You’ll find that your “feel-good” hormones will flow and make you experience pleasure for having a giving heart. In a study by Dunn, Aknin, Akin and Norton, these researchers set out to see what the link was between generosity and a happier life. They found that people who dedicated a larger proportion of their money to charitable organizations or activities, were happier than people who were more focused on themselves.
But it isn’t always about money. When it comes to giving, the actual monetary value of the giving is not as important as the act itself. This makes gifts of things like time and emotional support great things that you can donate and still feel the positive effects of giving. Since caring about others and helping them through a difficult or tough time can be a health booster, why not do more of it? Commit now to becoming a happier person by being moved to give more every day. Make a point today to clean out that closet and donate some gently used clothes or sign up to help your local food pantry feed the homeless.
As for our team at Jacie’s Kids, we’re happy to help improve your health! Feel free anytime to give your time, your talents or if you can a donation to JaciesKids.org. When you do, it means the world to “our” kids and their families! Thank you all!
For more information about Jacie’s Kids, or to speak to our team about opportunities within the organization, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Beatrice Haas at 516-242-1564.