Pleasure of giving

2 min read

Giving brings joy and does us good. This is revealed by numerous scientific studies that have explored the effects of acts of generosity on individuals' well-being. Whether in the form of donations, gifts, or volunteering, generosity appears to be beneficial for both the body and mind. Here's how.

Generosity stimulates the brain

When we demonstrate generosity, our brain releases oxytocin, a hormone that promotes social connection, trust, and empathy. Oxytocin also acts as a natural antidepressant, reducing stress and anxiety. Moreover, generosity activates the brain's reward circuit, producing dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure and motivation. Thus, generosity provides us with a sense of satisfaction and happiness (Marsh and al, 2021).

Generosity strengthens the heart

Generosity also has positive effects on cardiovascular health (Whillans and al, 2016). Studies show that individuals who donate money to charitable causes have lower blood pressure than those who do not. Another study by researchers at the University of Michigan showed that people who volunteer regularly have a lower risk of developing heart diseases (Kim and al, 2023). These results can be explained by the fact that generosity reduces inflammation, improves blood flow, and lowers cortisol levels, the stress hormone.

Generosity prolongs life

Lastly, generosity might have an impact on longevity. A meta-analysis of 40 studies, published in BMC Public Health, revealed that individuals who volunteer have a 22% lower mortality rate than those who do not (Jenkinson and al, 2013). Researchers have put forward several hypotheses to explain this phenomenon, such as the idea that volunteering increases a sense of belonging, promotes self-esteem, prevents social isolation, and provides meaning to life.

Generosity is a virtue that enriches us. By giving to others, it seems that we are offering ourselves the best gift: well-being. So, don't hesitate to show generosity; it's good for you!