It is better to give than to receive
As corny as it sounds, it is true, giving is, indeed, better than receiving.
The act of giving is rewarding and benefits to the giver include a surge in “feel good” hormones and a drop in the stress hormone cortisol.
In one study, participants were given some money and told that they had to spend it before the end of the day. Those who were told that they had to spend it on others, (in contrast to those who had to spend it on themselves) were measured as happier.
The Dalai Lama believed that true happiness comes not from gathering material possessions but from being concerned about the needs of others and Ghandi said that the “best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Social support, or offering and giving emotional help to others helps us to feel more satisfied and engaged with life. I will never forget when my two youngest children were severely ill in hospital and friends were doing all they could to support me both emotionally and physically. One night, a friend’s husband who I barely knew, knocked at our door to drop off a meal. I felt guilty because I wasn’t sure how I was going to repay his and everyone else’s kindness. This man said to me, “what goes around comes around.” I think he wanted me to understand the benefit that he received from giving to us. I also think that he felt that his kind act would enact the concept of “paying it forward”. It did, and years later, I still often remember his words.
Dunn, E. W., Aknin, L. B., & Norton, M. I. (2008).
Think about how you have supported and encouraged other people recently and how it made you feel. Fulfilled, happy and rewarding are words that come to mind and the more we practice giving the more habitual it will become.