Syd Gibson, President
We all struggle with believing that giving is better than getting. We love the security of having things beginning in our childhood with having the best and most toys and continues into adulthood. We are addicted to the emotional boost of buying something new economically. Non-economic forms of giving such as giving encouragement, attention and compliments can also be better to give than receive.
In a 2002 survey by the National Opinion Research Center's General Social Survey, it was found 43% of people who gave blood two or three times a year were very happy as opposed to 29% who did not.
The journal Health Psychology published a study in 2012 that found people who regularly volunteer live longer. If you volunteered for any reason beyond the joy of giving, it did not have the same long term benefits as giving unselfishly. Giving also helps combat depression.
The "pay it forward" idea isn't a myth. It is a fact that when people experience a generous kindness, they are more apt to treat others with the same sort of benevolence. Cooperative behavior is infectious and spreads through social networks.
Giving increases our confidence by focusing on others and not on self. It is important to have a strong sense of self-awareness, but that inner voice can be a constant force for criticism and negativity. Being generous changes where we place the spotlight and gives our brain a positive argument for why we are not a bad person.
When you are a genuinely generous person, people find you trustworthy and kind and like-able. Isn't that what we should be focusing on not just this time of year, but year round?