The Gift of Giving

Today I found myself listening to a random motivational video on how to be happy everyday. I was curious to find out what the how was. Little did I expect, it was all about giving. As simple as that.

The idea made total sense to me. According to research, the act of giving has a positive impact on the brain and our overall well-being. It makes us feel good.

The video talked about the idea of giving something to others however small everyday. It started with asking little kids (with many schools adopting the concept). I thought this was awesome. I’ve always heard and experienced first hand how giving to others makes you happy.

It made me recall earlier that day when I received a thank you card from a kids charity thanking me for my ongoing donation and what difference it was making to the kids life. It made me so happy that I decided to stick the card on my fridge as I reminder that I AM making a difference to others (a value that is important to me). The day before, I received this heart-felt letter from a mothers with cancer charity thanking me for a one off donation which nearly brought me to tears.

Sometimes we get down on ourselves thinking our life is meaningless or that we are not making a positive difference to anyone, that we don’t matter etc etc. However, we don’t realize that we DO make a difference even with the smallest act of giving. For example, a smile to a total stranger is giving something. That might just be the happiest moment of the stranger’s day.

Maybe the recent thank you letters I received was the universe’s way of telling me I am making a difference as I do start to think at times that I am not doing enough or giving enough to make a positive difference to others. The reality is that you don’t need to volunteer in a third world country to make a real difference. Even planting a tree at home is giving to the environment. Picking up a rubbish in park is giving. Hugging a child is giving. Saying a kind or encouraging word to someone is giving. Listening to someone who has had a tough day is giving.  It doesn’t have to be monetary or physical gifts. Giving our time and attention to someone in need is invaluable gift.

When I think about not just financial donations, but my yoga & meditation work which helps others overall well-being, I am giving. When I take clothes and other unused items from home to charity, I am giving. In wishing a mate a good day, I am giving. I am reminded now that there are many ways I am giving to others which makes feel happy.

Helping others also shows us that we are not there only one with struggles and to appreciate what we have. It gets us out of our obsessive thinking about our own problems and victim mentality.

Not only does giving helps those receiving the act, it helps us with our health and well-being. It’s a win win especially in a world full of anxiety and depression. Instead of reaching for medication to make us feel happy (which at times is necessary), why not engage in an act of giving first.

What are ways that you are giving back to the world?

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Giving time (and love) to kids living in very poor areas during my Peru trip was a deeply fullfilling experience.

 

 

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