6 Ways Giving Back Improves Your Mental Health and Finances
I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t want to give back, but I have certainly met plenty of people who don’t feel like they are able to due to financial commitments. But when you put giving back on the back burner, you are actually the one missing out.
When you give back to others and your community, the good comes back to you. No, I’m not just saying that because it sounds good. It’s scientifically proven that giving back improves your overall health. And, it may even help you financially.
Keep reading to discover 10 ways giving back improves your life.
1. Get Outside Your Bubble
Many of us find ourselves going to the same places and seeing the same people every day. Our lives are lived in a safe, secure bubble.
Giving back often requires you to step outside of your comfort zone. Volunteer your time or your talents. Is there a food pantry in your community where you can help distribute food? Is there a senior citizen on your street who could use some help with the yard?
Donate your time and services and see how much better you feel.
2. Form New Relationships with Like-Minded People
If you are new to an area or just in need of new friends, giving back provides the perfect opportunity to establish connections.
For example, if you choose to spend your time off work volunteering in a local library, you will meet other people who want to give back by sharing books with others.
Not only will you meet other people, but you will also meet like-minded people who share your values. Plus, you don’t have to spend money to spend time with these new friends.
3. Experience a Mood Boost
According to the Cleveland Clinic, “A smile isn’t the only reaction that comes from gift-giving. There’s also a chemical response that takes place in your body in response to … well, just doing something nice. As you help someone or give a gift, your brain secretes ‘feel good’ chemicals such as:
- Serotonin (which regulates your mood),
- Dopamine (which gives you a sense of pleasure), and
- Oxytocin (which creates a sense of connection with others).” [source]
Additionally, giving back often leads to a “helper’s high” which comes from the release of endorphins.
4. Stress Less
A significant source of stress is caused by excess thinking. Thoughts about tomorrow, or how that thing happened yesterday, or what they might be thinking about this mishap… It’s unnecessary stress.
Donating time is an opportunity to keep quality company, improve the community, and stay busy. It’s an opportunity for you to enjoy the moment and let go of unproductive thoughts. Donating time is good medicine for giving your mind a break.
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5. Find Abundance
Many volunteers are amazed by the happiness and generosity of the people they help.
Donating helps us discover the abundance that is already in our lives. Maybe your income, as it is, is more than enough to be happy.
Donating encourages us to live within our means. Many find their income is more than enough. You can make the most of your income with a budget.
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6. Enjoy a Tax Write-Off
Another reason to help people is that more of your money goes to organizations in need rather than the Tax Man.
This is because giving to a qualified nonprofit organization means you get a tax write-off (but check with the person doing your taxes). Many companies offer charitable matching, which means you can make an even bigger impact.
It is wise to add “giving” as an expense in your budget, so you regularly set aside money to give back. Just make sure you hold on to your giving receipts for your taxes at the end of the year.
When you feel tempted to hold on to your money and not give back, remember all the ways giving back helps you mentally and financially.
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