Why Generosity Feels So Good
March 3, 2020

Why Generosity Feels So Good

Generosity. It’s the other half of our secret sauce. Think of the holidays for a moment. What’s your favorite part? Is it opening your own gifts or watching someone else opening your carefully-selected one? For us, it seems like we get way more enjoyment out of giving than receiving which is kind of curious. It’s also a tad counterintuitive. But, alas, it’s completely normal. Giving is in fact better than receiving.

The Generosity Paradox

There’s actually something called the paradox of generosity. Simply stated, it refers to the idea that by not caring for someone else, we end up not caring for ourselves. In fact, there’s a book about it aptly named The Generosity Paradox: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose (2014).

In it, authors Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson explore the effects of generosity on over 2,000 individuals. Findings from the study are astounding, and pretty encouraging.

First, they found a correlation between generosity and well-being of the participants. Second, they believe there is actual causation between the two. For social scientists to claim causation is a big deal! That means the actual act of being generous directly leads to enhanced well-being. That’s from the release of certain pleasure chemicals in the brain during the process of being generous. Ok, that’s pretty powerful.

Third, the authors found that this only works in the case of genuine generosity. Faking it or doing it for some self-serving purpose isn’t going to get you these results, people. It’s about the act of giving itself, not about what you might get from it.

Volunteerism is close to happiness

Let’s look at volunteering. Individuals who average 5.8 hours a month volunteering rate themselves as “very happy.” “Unhappy” people report only an average .6 hours per month. We don’t know about you, but we may skip our next afternoon of binging on Netflix and opt for some quality volunteer time.

How about monetary giving? This was a bit shocking too. Those giving ten percent or more of their annual income report significantly lower levels of depression than everybody else. Hmmm…that’s certainly food for thought.

We certainly know our positive brain chemicals are working overtime with each new evolution of Purposity. And, we hope you find as much enjoyment in our platform as we do in building it for you.

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