Some time between the teenage years and adulthood, a shift happens. Somehow, during the holiday season, you become acutely aware that you love to give rather than receive. I know that I always wait eagerly as the receiver gets around to opening the gift that I brought. Typically, a gift that took quite some research, digging and prodding and sometimes elbow grease to get. Sometimes I find myself tearing up when they open it…weird, I know.
Or, maybe that is not so weird. Science tells us that you feel better when you spend money on others rather than when you spend money on yourself. According to Happify.com, when you give, you get a boost of feel-good endorphins (similar to a runner’s high). You get a dose of Oxytocin, a hormone which helps reduce stress and make your feel more connected to others…this lasts for up to 2 hours after you give the gift!
Livescience.com explains that the idea that humans are innately selfish and Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” is just not so. Darwin himself mentioned benevolence 99 times in “The Descent of Man.” A human is hard-wired to help…after all, the main goal is survival and gene replication; taking care of others is a natural.
The ever knowledgeable, Mahatma Gandhi states: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Forbes.com shares a study from Northwestern which found that people sleep better at night when they hapve a purpose in life outside of yourself. There are benefits to your mental health, physical health, longevity and your genes!