Sammy Jo (Diffendaffer) Allen, M.S., LMFT
The Psychological Benefits of Giving
Whether you participated in Giving Tuesday or spent your Black Friday searching for the perfect gifts to brighten the holiday season for those you care about most, you may be surprised to learn how these acts of generosity impact you just as much or more than the recipients of your help. Researchers using a functional MRI (fMRI) uncovered that when individuals spent the majority of an allotted $100 on someone other than themselves, they experienced heightened feelings of happiness which was displayed in scans of the brain. Outcomes of these fmri images were similar to brain scans of humans experiencing a high from opioid drugs, endorphins from physical exercise, or eating something sweet. Research also shows that consistent volunteering lowers individuals risk and symptoms of depression and anxiety and leads to overall greater psychological well-being.
So, as we engage in this season of giving, it is important to know that our sacrifices of time and money are well-worth the beneficial outcomes, not just for others, but ourselves included! I wish you and those close to you a holiday filled with generosity and the resulting deep, meaningful joy.
For those of you experiencing added stress or relationship difficulty in this season, ask me how you can give time to one of the most meaningful processes of personal growth, healing and resolution of conflict with a family member, spouse, or intimate partner.