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5 ways that giving improves emotional wellbeing - Morgan Franklin

Posted 11/22/2018 10:49:00 PM By Morgan Franklin
Morgan Franklin
5 ways that giving improves emotional wellbeing By Morgan Franklin

Charitable giving is a very beneficial thing to do, and by giving your time and money to others, you can often make a huge difference to people’s lives. Offering this type of help is often thought of as being a hugely selfless act, with some of the world’s biggest philanthropists sharing their good fortune with others.

While helping others is a generous thing to do, it is also highly beneficial to the giver as well as the receiver too. In fact, numerous studies have shown that the act of giving can improve our emotional wellbeing in a number of ways.

1. Greater self-esteem

Anyone who has ever given their time or money to helping others is probably already familiar with the swell of positivity that comes from such activities, and this is backed up by science.

Studies suggest that donating time and money to others activates the mesolimbic system within your brain, which controls feelings of pleasure and reward. The positive feeling associated with giving is very much real, and this physiological benefit helps us feel better about ourselves, providing greater levels of self-esteem.

2. Increased satisfaction with life

In the current political and economic climate, it is often easy to feel gloomy about everything, and giving can help to improve satisfaction with life. Life satisfaction is linked to how people feel about their directions and options for the future, and this can be adversely affected by broader factors outside of an individual’s control.

Charitable giving can help increase life satisfaction by offering individuals a sense of control - as it allows them to feel that they are able to make a difference.

3. Improved sense of purpose

Having a sense of purpose is often very important for positive mental health, and working towards a goal can help you achieve this. Making a contribution to society is often a very satisfying thing to do, and it provides a sense of purpose that you are actively achieving something meaningful.

4. Decreased risk of depression

As a result of the positive feelings activated by your brain’s mesolimbic system, giving is also associated with lowered risk of depression. The common symptoms of depression - particularly sadness and a lack of energy - are reduced by such feeling, which is triggered by helping others.

Other studies have also suggested that helping others offers individuals a greater sense of personal control over their lives. This sense of control simultaneously reduced the symptoms of depression, and the likelihood of individuals suffering from depression in the future.

5. Quicker recovery from grief

Finally, helping others may help you to recover from grief. One study, which looked at people coping with the death of a spouse, found that those who helped to provide practical assistance for others (including money and help with chores) recovered more quickly from the symptoms of grief.


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