This title from Time Magazine really does say it all: “Being Generous Really Does Make You Happier.”

Researchers from the Unviersity of Zurich in Switzerland told 50 participants that they’d be receiving about $100 in a few weeks. Twenty-five people promised to spend that money on themselves, and twenty-five people committed to spend the money on someone they knew who needed it.

Next, researchers asked all the participants to think about a friend they’d like to give a gift to, and how much money that person would possibly spend. Each participant had an MRI of their brains, especially noting the parts of the brain that deal in social behavior, generosity, happiness and decision-making.

The people who had agreed to spend their money on other people had more activity in the regions of their brain associated with altruism and happiness, even reporting higher levels of happiness afterthe experiment ended.

There is other research that points to the connection between generosity and better health. How about this 2005 study where elderly participants who gave and received social support were associated with lower morbidity? Or this 2017 study by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute about how the more people give the better they feel?

Simply put, it improves your health to give, whether that means financial donations or with acts of service to people in need. Charitable giving can improve your quality of life by simply changing your outlook to recognize your privileges, and how you can help the less fortunate. The more you give, the more you serve, the more it becomes second nature.

So get out there and serve someone today!

Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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