Day 23 – Social
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
The holiday season has recently twinkled to a close and memories of glittering packages under shining trees still lie fresh in our minds. As children, there is often nothing more exciting then opening our own presents on Christmas morning. However, as we grow, we reach the age where giving a gift miraculously becomes more thrilling than receiving one. There are few things as satisfying as seeing joy light up a loved one’s face while opening your offering to them. Science has shown that this “warm, fuzzy feeling” experienced from giving is actually a physiological response to service.
One study completed by Dr. Jordan Grafman showed that the same pleasure center that lights up when you’re having sex or eating chocolate is activated when extending charity. This discovery was made by placing subjects inside a functional MRI (fMRI) scanner and providing them a long list of charities. They were given the option for each to donate money, refuse donation, or add money to a separate reward account that they could take home at the end of the study. Not only did researchers observe an activation of the brain’s pleasure center when people gave something away but also a spot of stimulation in the frontal lobe. This small area that reacted turned out to be the receptor site for oxytocin— a hormone that promotes social bonding. This suggests there is a strong link between selflessness and social connection.
These studies show that hospitality and happiness are innately interwoven. Americans who describe themselves as “very happy” volunteer an average of 5.8 hours per month. Those who are “unhappy”? Just 0.6 hours. Polls of people in giving relationships focused hospitality were much more likely to be in excellent health (48 percent) versus those who are not (31 percent).
These results regarding human nature, along with the phenomenon that links giving to gain, is quite remarkable.
It defies the idea that as humans, we are naturally selfish.
Does anyone else feel an increase of hope for mankind in this? I do. It’s comforting to know generosity is much more than a moral philosophy. We are hard-wired to want to give. Humanity desires to extend a hand, and in so doing, receives an intrinsic reward of increased happiness and health.
Yesterday we talked about how “Less is More”. Today is a perfect day to put this principle into action. We all have excess… so let’s be “excessively” generous. All those extra clothes lying around in your closet, canned food cluttering your pantry, the fiver tucked in your purse, the ten minutes you spend on Facebook during lunch time… give it up. You won’t miss the extra and the extended generosity provides a gain that’s guaranteed to outlive the give.
To kick off the giving, I’ve decided to do a little giveaway of my own!
Today I’m giving a favorite: The S’well reusable, insulated water bottle that was highlighted during Day 13’s High on Hydration post. Just as a refresher (no pun intended), this stainless steel bottle keep drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12— all with zero condensation. Retailing at $25, this S’well 9 oz bottle in Birchwood is hand painted with wood design in a smooth matte finish— it’s one-of-a-kind!
To enter the giveaway you must do all of the following:
- Like My Whole Food Habit on Facebook (click here).
- Share the “Give to Get” post from My Whole Food Habit’s Facebook page.
- When sharing the “Give to Get” post, name one thing you’ll give to someone else today.