Generosity is the Key to Happiness and Fulfillment
In a world where people are continuously seeking to ‘get’ to be happy, we need to realise that we have been sold a lie. It truly is more blessed to give than receive.
The apostle Paul in one of his writings famously said: “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows generously will also reap generously.”
Indeed, generosity begets generosity.
Generosity is commonly defined as the habit of “giving without expecting anything in return. It can involve offering time, assets or talents to aid someone in need.” While generosity is often associated as an act of selflessness, numerous studies reveal that generosity not only aids those who are recipients of it, but also brings about many benefits to those who practice it.
Let’s walk through some of the notable benefits of generosity.
1. Generosity cultivates happiness
A study conducted by the Greater Good Science Center on generosity, explains how generosity is significantly associated with happiness, stress-relief and quality of life. Researchers found out that even small acts of giving triggers something in our brain that eventually gives us positive emotional experiences. An article from Forbes magazine further supports this finding by quoting a study on Generosity by Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson. The study found out that people who volunteered at an average of 5.8 hours a month are happier than those who only volunteered an average of 0.6 hours per month. Smith and Davidson discovered that the generosity-happiness link is a kind of spiral- acts of giving yield positive emotions and those emotions further energising generosity.
2. Generosity improves our overall health and well-being
Numerous studies have proven how generosity, in whatever form, benefits the over all health of both the young and the old. According to those studies, generosity lowers blood pressure, lowers the risk of dementia and heart disease, and lessens anxiety and depression.
Dr. Stephen G. Post, founding director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care sums this whole thought by saying: "Volunteering moves people into the present and distracts the mind from the stresses and problems of the self. Many studies show that one of the best ways to deal with the hardships in life is not to just centre on yourself but to take the opportunity to engage in simple acts of kindness.”
3. Generosity improves our relationships
According to Jason Marsh and Jill Suttie of the Greater Good Science Center, generosity helps improve our relationships and helps us interact better with one another be it with our family members, our friends, and our co-workers.
In a study that examined whether generosity in marriage was associated with marital quality, researches found out that spouses who have generous partners expressed high levels of marital satisfaction. And the same goes with their generous partner.
Forbes magazine stated that a culture of generosity in the workplace - a tangible atmosphere of teaching and mutual support - produces engaged employees and creates successful team. Like for instance “the junior members of the team bring research and ideas to the senior manager, and the senior member provides concrete teaching and mentoring to the junior members. This constructive back and forth leads to a high level of engagement, in part because each team member feels appreciated. Each gives toward the support of the whole, and each receives from the others.”
When we give to others, not only do we make them feel closer to us; we also feel closer to them. Being generous and kind encourages us to perceive others in a more positive light and fosters a sense of community, a feeling of interconnectedness.
Being on the receiving end of generosity generates positive feelings that may give us momentary happiness but being the benefactor gives us lifetime benefits that contribute to our overall happiness and well-being.
The happiest people I know find true richness in giving away what they have accumulated through their success in their chosen field of endeavour. There is a message in there somewhere for me. What about you?
For years I had a scarcity mentality which kept me from giving generously. I thought I had to keep hold of everything I had. So glad I had a new revelation about this area of my life and today I have a new experience around generosity.
In the work I do to develop 21st Century Neuroleaders, generosity is developed as a key pillar of Collaboration. Becoming a leader who is generous with your time, your knowledge, your resources and your experience, is vital if you want to influence and impact others.
If this short article has spoken to you in any way, contact me through my website so we can discuss what support you need in this area of your life and leadership journey.
Have a great week…you deserve it!