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| Jenni Griffin |

Why Give? What’s in it for Me?

When Giving to Others Gives Back

As so many inevitably discover, giving to others has the incredible power of being contagious in the best way possible. Whether it’s with your time, your money, or your resources, it’s hard to only give once. We’ve seen just this with those who donate to Thanksgiving’s Heroes. Although giving to others is intended for the benefit of someone other than ourselves, there’s no denying the benefits to ourselves that come with this. Why is this? When we give to others, just what is it we get back?

A Sense of Purpose and Social Belonging

We are social creatures by nature. Many of us want to belong, to be part of something bigger than ourselves. When we offer up our time or our resources, we are actively contributing to the world around us. You transition from being an inactive outsider to being an active contributor to society. Not only does this come with a sense of fulfillment, but it also comes with a sense of belonging.

In a world that often can feel disconnected, we are inherently connected through our actions and contributions. Donating and charity work allow us to become part of something bigger than ourselves. We inherently become part of a community, a community with a common goal that shows us we belong to something and we bring something to the table (sometimes literally, as with Thanksgiving’s Heroes!).

A Healthy Boost- Physically and Mentally

It might be surprising to learn that volunteer work and charitable giving have concrete, positive impacts on our mental health and wellbeing. Specifically, studies have even indicated that this type of involvement can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

These benefits come as the body responds to increased self-confidence and self-worth, positive and worthwhile social interactions, and boosts in self-motivation. These benefits spill over into other areas of life as well. Some givers even find that they are more motivated to stay physically healthier, as stress, anxiety, and depression are reduced. As a result, the benefits are able to reach both the mind as well as the body.

Feeling Empowered When We are Powerless

During this time more than ever, so many find themselves feeling like what is going on is out of our control. The truth is, it is out of our control. For many, donating or volunteering is one way to take back some control in situations where we feel powerless.

During this pandemic, the inspiring stories of people all across the world have demonstrated just this. We find ourselves in a spiraling situation, where we feel helpless, powerless, and sometimes hopeless. And yet, the most uplifting and hopeful moments of these past few months have come from the stories of people who are trying to find little ways to take some control in midst of the chaos around us.

It might be wealthy celebrities donating millions of dollars to fight the cause, or an average citizen sitting at home for hours a day to donate sewing masks to her community. These types of stories have quickly become not only increasing in frequency, but increasing in necessity.

Now more than ever, those who are struggling need help from others. This is one thing that is in our control- our ability to give our time or our food or our resources or our money to those who need it the most. These are the actions and stories that keep so many of us going while we wait for the light at the end of the tunnel.