Navigating Life's Journey Blog
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5 Benefits of Generosity
Generosity is an interesting phenomenon. It seems illogical that giving what you have, be it time, resources or words, causes you to gain in the end. Regardless of how backwards that sounds, research supports this conclusion.
Here are 5 ways being generous benefits you more than what you give.
- Freedom from Materialism – When we are willing and practice giving away our material possessions generously, we gain freedom from materialism. Our items begin to hold less power over us. We realize we don’t need them as much as we thought we did. In this we escape the weight and dependence on our material possessions to make us happy and feel content. We escape the fear that whispers, “But what if I need this later…” The truth is, we can indeed do without, and what great freedom that brings!
- Improves Relationships – Generosity is a great way to promote social connectedness. The simple act of giving causes our brain to view the recipient as more likable, more worthy to receive. These feelings apply to all recipients including strangers, co-workers, friends, family, children, and spouses. No wonder people who routinely practice generosity with their spouses report having happier marriages!
- Supports one’s Health – It’s evident that those who practice generosity tend to be healthier physically and mentally. According to a study conducted by the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, generosity is linked to reduced blood pressure, a condition that kills millions every year. In addition, there are reports that generosity also fights depression, reduces stress, lowers the risk of dementia, decreases anxiety, helps with chronic pain management, and more. I don’t know about you but everything I have is worth giving away for those kinds of benefits!
- Feel better about yourself – Being generous takes the focus off oneself. How does that help? Well, when we’re only focused on ourselves, our thoughts tend to be fueled by negativity and criticism as we recognize our flaws and shortcomings. But when we focus on what we’re giving rather than ourselves, we create a more outward orientation toward the world and a strong argument against the criticism! We begin to see the pleasure we can bring to another. We begin to feel as though we can do anything. Our confidence is boosted! This shift from focusing on ourselves to focusing on others is inherently good and will always leave us feeling better.
- Generates Momentum – Generosity is a practice that creates its own momentum. It is in itself, motivating. Once you start, you’ll find yourself wanting to give again and again. The more you give, the greater your desire to give becomes. It eventually becomes a habit, a lifestyle. And those who continue to be generous regularity receive its full effects!
Although being generous isn’t about the benefits we receive in return, they’re definitely worth noting. We’ve all been told it’s good to be generous for no other reason than to benefit another. And while that should be our true motivation, there’s still value in understanding that being generous not only benefits others, but also ourselves.