The more you give, the more you get in return. It seems counter-intuitive. However, the fact is that giving to others has a positive effect on your life on many levels. How can that be? Well following are six reasons why giving actually provides with giver with wonderful rewards:
1. Giving is Linked to Lower Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that giving to others is actually good for your health! In 2006, a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins and the University of Tennessee found that people who helped others actually had lower blood pressure than people who didn’t. The thought is that charity and volunteering actually lowers stress which results in better health.
2. St. Paul Tells Us We Will Be Rewarded With Abundance
According to Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians Chapter 9 Verse 6, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” (NIV) He continues to explain what giving should look like. He says that it must be deliberate and private, not done for glory but done because the heart says so. Paul states at the end of his discussion on giving in Verse 8 that, “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (NIV)
3. Giving Is Linked to Pleasure Centers in the Brain
Individuals who give to charity claim that it makes them happier. Research shows there is a reason for this. Experiments show that giving actually activates the pleasure centers in the brain. This is the same area that is activated by sex and food. In other words, we have been created to give. It is one of the central forms of pleasure that we have available to us.
4. Giving Linked to Release of Oxytocin
Related to this idea of pleasure centers being activated is the link that has been shown to exist between charity and the release of oxytocin into our bodies. Oxytocin is actually a hormone that plays an important part in human behavior along with childbirth and breastfeeding. If you’ve ever breastfed a baby, there is a feeling of euphoria that arises. This feeling comes from oxytocin. Researchers have discovered that the hormone is also important in feelings of trust, anxiety, bonding, arousal, and so much more. Paul Zak, a neuroeconomist (I didn’t know that this was a thing!), has hypothesized that oxytocin is the chemical of connectedness. Therefore, there is a correlation between this feel good hormone and giving because it highlights the connections we make with others.
5. Giving Creates Gratitude
Gratitude is one of the keys to living an abundant life. People who practice gratitude everyday are happier, healthier,, and more empathetic than those who do not. Interestingly, giving to others creates feelings of gratitude within us. I believe that this happens because we are able to realize how much we have and how blessed we really are. The other day, I was investigating charities with my daughter. I told her she had $100 to donate where she wanted. We used Charity Navigator which is an awesome tool. Just looking through the available charities and talking about them with her was eye-opening and sobering for both her and me. I was able to use this to add to things I was grateful for later that evening when I wrote in my journal. I felt so grateful that I was able to help others because of the blessings in my life. And it’s important to note, that these blessings might just be a little bit of time that you can spend helping out at a soup kitchen or visiting the elderly. It doesn’t have to be monetary gifts that help us feel blessed with our lives.
6. Giving Allows Us to Make a Difference in Others Life
I believe that money provides each of us with the means to truly live out our purpose, and I also believe that as a child of God, abundance is one of my gifts. However, the truth is that true wealth and abundance does not come from what we own. Instead, it comes from the way we live. When people who have lived over a hundred years are interviewed, they don’t talk about their collections or their items. Instead, they talk about their relationships with others and with themselves.
Making a difference for someone is one of the most fulfilling experiences there is. Think about the last time you helped someone, even if it was just giving them a pen or pencil. In fact, this happened to me recently. I was at my child’s middle school orientation and lent a pen to a friend so they could take notes. Did this make a difference for them? They didn’t miss important information while searching for something to write with. I know that might sound silly but I’m using this example to show that you don’t have to have monumental gestures to make a difference. In fact, as Mother Teresa said, “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” Sometimes, a smile can truly make a world of difference to someone who is struggling.
A Personal Example of the Rewards of Giving
From my own experience, I always get back way more than I give. I don’t just mean in feeling good but also in tangible rewards. One time, my husband and I were at a conference for work. This was right after Hurricane Katrina occurred, and a coworker who we didn’t really know had lost everything in the flooding. Our work decided to hold a 50/50 raffle, giving half to our coworker to help and the other half to us. When the winner of the $600 prize was announced, I was shocked that it was my husband. Without even thinking about it, he stood went to the person and charge and said that he wanted to give the money to the person who had lost everything. I wasn’t surprised as he has such a generous soul. But still, it was $600. However, God had greater things in mind, rewards in fact.
At that same conference, we had a drawing for baskets of goodies where we bought tickets and put them in the box for whichever basket we wanted. One of the baskets held two first-class tickets to anywhere in the United States. Without telling me, my husband entered his name in the drawing for that particular basket, and he won. Those two tickets cost way more than $600. We were able to use them to fly to Las Vegas and have a second honeymoon. It was such a blessing.
My point in the story above is that when we give, we more often than not receive more in return. God truly does return what we give many times over through both tangible and intangible rewards. Think of it like life’s lottery where you always have a winning ticket.
We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give — Winston Churchill
I pray that you see massive rewards for all that you give to others.
With Much Love,