“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
Kindness towards others actually causes us to be happier, healthier, and even live longer. Sound like a reach? Hear me out.
Many of us find personal satisfaction just in the act of giving, but when we give we actually experience other benefits. Our focus shifts from ourselves to others, providing us a greater sense of purpose and meaning. We create stronger relationships with like-minded people. Our outlook becomes more positive, which helps reduce stress and lowers our blood pressure.
In fact, we gain more happiness when we spend our money and time serving others than when we spend it on ourselves. Through fMRI brain scans, neuroscientists have discovered the regions of the brain that are activated when we receive money light up even brighter when we give. Woah!
Think of the warm glow you sometimes get – for example, when you each chocolate or after sex. That’s right – chocolate, sex, and giving all have something in common – they all stimulate endorphins in your brain and make you feel amazing. Giving makes people happy, and happy people give more. So giving really is the gift that keeps on giving!
Volunteers also experience added personal benefits, like increased leadership ability and improved self-confidence. They develop a stronger understanding of their strengths and are able to apply their talents in a meaningful way. Which, by the way, also increases wellbeing.
Giving doesn’t have to be purely unselfish. It’s ok to make it personal. In fact, those who have a personal tie to how they volunteer have more to offer and get more out of it. And you should also want to make meaningful connections with others as part of your volunteer experience. In fact, when you give, you are more likely to get back – and that’s ok because you are creating mutually-beneficial relationships with others, which is good for both your health and your wellbeing.
So it turns out the secret to happiness really is helping others!
Travel with purpose,
Jené Kapela, Founder and Chief Voluntourism Officer
Adventures in Voluntourism
Learn how you can travel and volunteer at the same time! View our upcoming trips at http://adventuresinvoluntourism.com/trips.